Friday, February 29, 2008

Teaching Tolerance

Oh the things you need to talk to four year old's about...

It started at Christmas when ML noticed that not everyone went as crazy as we do with the decorations and lights. She asks "Why" about everything! We discussed that not everyone celebrates Christmas, not everyone likes putting lights on their houses, and unfortunately some people can't afford it etc. etc. But that it was OK that people didn't. That There are lots of things people do that we don't participate in, and that makes learning about other people and ideas fun.

These Questions were mostly forgotten once the Christmas season was over, but teaching tolerance to my daughter became very important recently.

Unfortunately, I have had a child with someone who no longer believes in tolerance, (and he is mad at me, another post) and has told my daughter that smart people know "something" and not smart people don't. (I will discuss what this "something" in a later post, it is not about race, it is about religious beliefs, and I think it deserves its own post). So I had to go back to our discussion about Christmas with ML.

I know how to teach adults tolerance. However, I am having a really hard time with this conversation with a 4 year old. I know I can say the same things over and over until she is old enough to understand, but I am afraid that she will go to school in September and say what she has heard and this will either either hurt another child, or me receiving a phone call from the school. I find the words and examples I want to use are hard for her to understand

I have purchased a few books to read to ML, (and if anyone knows of more good ones, please let me know...) One of them so that she knows that it is OK that she has epilepsy, that it is OK to be different, the others I purchased in anticipating that another person would be joining our family, and most likely will not look like either me or ML.

Any suggestions would be most welcome.

All the Colors of the Earth by Sheila Hamanaka

We're Different, We're the Same by Bobbi Kates

Why am I Different by Norma Simon

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