Throwback Tursday #4 July 31, 2008Posted by Matt in Throwback Thursday.
Tags: diversity, kids, parenting, questions, race
I think we can all agree that recycling is a good thing. With that in mind, many of us make a strong effort to do so with aluminum cans and paper and plastics. What better way is there for this blog to show its support of recycling than by reusing older blog entries from the past 2.5 years that some of you might have missed the first time around? Without further ado, welcome to our semi-regular feature: Throwback Thursday.
Originally posted 5/29/2007
My older daughter, Rachel, is a very inquisitive child, always question about this or that in her relentless pursuit of knowledge of this world we live in. This morning, her brow furrowed in deep scrutinizing thought, she looked at me and asked, rather matter-of-factly, “Daddy why are people different colors? Some are white and some are brown and some are black, why?”
So, I sat for a moment and pondered over her innocent search for knowledge, how exactly do you answer that question from a five year old? Do you talk about adaptability in the context of human evolution? Do you talk about the biologic polymer melanin and the effects of generations of sun exposure? Do you curtly answer, “Because God made them that way, ” and expect her to accept your solution?
No, the biology lesson is probably a bit complex for a four year old (even one as precocious as Rachel) and she’s too smart to receive the simplest answer without further questioning. So, rather than regaling her with a dermatological lesson or undermining her intelligence with a short response meant to quiet her, I turned the answer into an object lesson in tolerance and diversity.
“Honey,” I asked,” Is there anybody in the world exactly like you?”
She cocked her little head and gazed up at me quizzically, “No.”
“That’s right, you are the only Rachel who looks and acts and thinks like you do.” She hesitantly nodded her head in agreement, so I pressed on, “It’s the differences between us that make us and everybody else special. It wouldn’t be very fun if everybody was exactly like you, would it?”
She cracked a small smile and let out a little girl giggle, “No.”
“Of course it wouldn’t be any good if we were all the same! So we were each made to be different – we talk different, we act different, we think different, and we look different – some of us are even different colors. Even though we are different, we still talk to each other and play together and love each other.”
Nodding up and down and wide eyed with wonder at her newfound bit of knowledge, she replied with a simple, “Oh.”
When we arrived at the day care this morning, Rachel promptly ran into her classroom and her friends, of all different races and backgrounds, met her with a warm deluge of, “Hi, Rachel!” In no time at all, she was hard at play with her preschool playmates, all of them – the black, the white, and the hispanic – with no regard to their ethnicity or background.
There’s an awful lot you can learn from children and today, though I instructed her with my words, she taught me even more with her actions. Let’s all be good to each other – whether we are poor or rich, or black or white. Whether we speak English well or not. Whether we live in the right neighborhood or drive the right car or wear the right clothes or not. Whether we deeply love someone of the opposite or the same sex. Whether we go to a different church or belong to another faith or perhaps hold nothing as holy truth.
Thank you for teaching me so much today, Rachel.