You know that saying, you can choose your friends, but you can’t choose your family? Well, the friends you choose can have an impact on your family. I love hanging out with people, meeting new ones and finding out where they come from, what makes them tick- I’d like to think that this fascination will help my children to be more curious, more accepting of people. It’s worth considering today, World Diversity Day (21 May), how choosing friends may be of benefit to your children.
What’s so fantastic about living in SA is that we’re surrounded by people from backgrounds different
to ours. A short conversation can reveal that although we shop at the same chain stores or walk the same streets, we’re processing life through our own social filters. I often chat to my children about their friends to make sure that my kids understand that although we all have different backgrounds, we can be friends.
My children seem to be very accepting of people, and they agree that it’s not okay to treat someone differently because they don’t look like you, worship differently to you or come from somewhere else.
My girlfriend’s granddaughter is Muslim, and we get to have loads of discussions about halaal foods
. As Karen’s daughter has converted to Islam, we’re privileged to see diversity at work with the extended family.
In SA there are still many lessons to be learned about diversity. It should not be so, but mixed-race couples still collect unwanted stares and too-loud whispered comments when out-and-about.
Kids learn from their parents. Mostly, that’s what we want for them. But it’s also possible for children to pick up negative traits, too: racism, for example. If you’re spending those critical supper conversations saying bad things about THEM (whoever THEY are), your children will pick up those attitudes.
I don’t mean to sound preachy. It’s hard work to keep non-racial, although that’s my goal as an individual and a parent. I won’t say “some of my best friends are black/white/brown/beige/pink/gay/atheist/whatever”. My friends are simply my friends.
I am thrilled that at Parent24 we have all sorts of friends sharing their outlook on life, their histories and their hopes. After all, it’s all about you.
It’s also my youngest son’s birthday today.
Happy birthday, Jonah, my fiercely tenacious 7-year-old, with the will to compete with his siblings, the shy smile, deep brown eyes and knees decorated with sticking plasters. I’m proud to call you my son.
Don’t forget, you still have time to take part in our competition for May
Do you discuss diversity with your kids? What are their thoughts on it? Send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and you could win a R250 kalahari.com voucher.