Monday, April 11, 2011

Celebrating Difference

one of the things that we do with our kids to help them own being different and to be ok with that.  we take the time to actually focus on the difference and frame it in the right context.  how does this help them accept that they are different?  well ... let me paint it this way ....

difference is like a rainbow ....

we all have our part to play
we all have a unique space to occupy
we all have different gifts and abilities

but at the end of the day .... we are all part of a beautiful tapestry of life that God has woven us together in and we should celebrate that.  celebrate all the wonderful things that make us unique and special.

i really like the books by a guy named Todd Parr.  they are visually appealing to kids and he deals with hard issues in a very positive and uplifting way.  i don't always agree with some of his examples .... but that's OK.  what i do like is that he isn't afraid to touch on those things that you and i might shy away from and he lays it out there and makes it positive.

and to me, that is the key .... framing our kids differences so that they see the positive in them and don't focused on a perceived negative.  i have to admit that i am pretty bigoted here .... because while i know that my kids will have some hard issues to deal with in their lives ..... i don't see anything negative about the lives that they are living now. 

no, no .... i'm not saying that there isn't the need to wrestle with the loss and grief.  absolutely not!  that is a topic of discussion for another day.  but what i am saying is that i think the fact that my kids are different is pretty darn cool .... our whole family is different ... we all have differences. 

so how do we do that practically with our kids? 
  • Filipino and Proud is a common statement around our house
  • we have phrases from their native language that we continue to use
  • in our house ... we all have chocolate skin.  mum and dad have white chocolate skin .... but the kids have milk chocolate skin.  and, some of our friends from Africa have yummy dark chocolate skin.
  • we regularly talk about birth family roots and pray for the kids birth families
  • we don't shy away from talking about adoption issues .... it's always out there and free to be discussed if the kids are in the head space for it .... we are always approachable!
  • and one of my favs .... we eat a regular diet of Filipino food!  oh yum! 
there is a time for everything under the sun .... as the Good Book says.  including grief and loss .... but it also calls us much more to a life of joy and beauty ... and we need to celebrate the beauty and diversity that God created in each of us .... if we celebrate it .... our kids will celebrate their own personal diversity and be comfortable in their skin. 

viva la difference!  <g>

1 comment:

  1. Maggie,
    This was a great post. It's so easy to forget about their filipino heritage because we get caught up in our every day lives and just go on living our american lives. I know I need to try harder. We do eat some filipino food, but the boys prefer american food now, so it's hard to get them to eat most of the filipino stuff now. All we eat now is filipino bbq, adobo, and lumpia.
    Luigi (11) really struggles with being different. We are fotunate to live in a community filled with diversity, so he's not the only brown kid in his class. But he really sruggles with his height. Our family is very tall and it doesn't help that his 6 year old sister keeps reminding him that she will someday outgrow him. He's lately started telling us that his birth father was very tall so he will be too. Of course we know better, but we let him believer that.
    I am curious about the tagalog phrases you use around the house. Which ones do you use? Since the boys forgot their native language, I stopped speaking it too. The only one I still use is "halika dito".