Three incidents, all rather recent:
#1: The parent of another girl at Eleanor’s tennis tournament starts asking me about the kids. She inquired about the regular things. Did you adopt them? Where are they from? What happened to their parents (did not answer)? And then, she says “It’s such a shame. There are so many kids here (meaning in the US) that need good homes. It’s too bad you couldn’t take some of them.” Lucy was sitting on my lap at the time. I understand that Lucy is too young to understand that comment, but one day she won’t be. How do you teach her to be proud of her history when others aren’t?
#2: Sam had a rather unfortunate discussion with a kid on his bus. I would love to blog more about it (mainly because I don’t feel like I handled it well and would love to hear what you would have done), but feel like it’s Sam’s story, and so I want to protect his privacy. Bottom line, the 6th grade has its share of small-minded, ignorant, bigots. It left me feeling like we haven’t prepared Sam well for dealing with the comments he will have to deal with. How do you teach an 11-year-old to deal with such complicated issues?
#3: I just watched an episode of the New Normal. For those of you who haven’t seen it, it is a new sitcom about two gay men, using a surrogate to have a baby. Talk about some inappropriate stereotypes…the grandmother on this show is possibly the least politically correct character ever. The sad thing is, she is based on real people who exist…she just says what some people keep internally. Anyway, on this episode they faced some discrimination and struggled with how they would teach their unborn child to deal with those same types of comments. How do you teach that?
Yes, I know there are books. Yes, I know there are movies. Yes, I’ve visited the web sites. Yes, my kids have good role models of all races and sexual orientations. Yes, my kids’ school has a guidance program where they talk about respecting everyone. Yes, we watch political races and talk about issues like same-sex marriage, women’s equality, and poverty. But really, do any of these things prepare a kid when they are faced with stupid remarks? How do you teach them that?