Appreciating Differences
Contributor
Written by
Taneisa Grier
March 2011
Contributor
Written by
Taneisa Grier
March 2011

Raise your children to appreciate diversity. Children who have exposure to different cultures tend to have a widened outlook on their life and the world. It may even help shape their goals and dreams

 

 

Let me say this, when you are socialized to appreciate different cultures including your own early on, when you travel or meet people of different backgrounds, you have a greater appreciation for diversity and you mature in unexpected ways. This has even benefited me in socializing not only with others of different backgrounds but even in personal friendships as well. Of course the opposite may challenge your approach to dealing with people and friends.

 

My experience to diversity began when I was a child and really formed in elementary. I attended Summerfield Elementary School in Michigan. It was part of a magnet program for math, science and music. Summerfield got its name from a politician by the name of Arthur Summerfield who was well known in Michigan. Not only was he a politician but he’s accredited with being successful in getting his presidential candidate elected (Dwight Eisenhower). As a result he was chose as the Federal Postmaster General. And though a politician he was a savvy businessman as well who owned the largest General Motors dealership in Michigan as well as one of the largest in the Midwest. So you see, between an early start at home and at school great people influenced my interests.

 

To that end, this same beginning brought with it exposure to great academic teaching of people who don’t look like me. I had friends whose cultural backgrounds consisted of Native American, Hispanic, Irish, French, and a list of other cultural backgrounds. Not to mention I had family members who had a unique multicultural background themselves. It would appear that at such a young age the cultural significance would not be emphasized. But on the contrary it was and really was a unifying presence among students. We actually had lessons on multiculturalism. We weren’t using the word diversity then that I can remember. But multicultural was very big throughout school. As a result I can appreciate the differences while at the same time discuss those issues that may result because of such. In part due to the open conversations had at school on the matter. An area in my hometown dubbed as the “Cultural Center” was reinforcement for our learning.

 

This experience continued on until well throughout my life and even now. As a result I strongly encourage parents to expose their children to different types of background very early on if at all possible.

 

Fast forward to a conversation with the family a few days ago, children are bored and seemingly say they have nothing to do. I say; just as I have to you, expose them to something different, it may make a world of difference.

 

In hind sight many of the women and people I’ve looked up to manage to do this well. And so it’s within our reach to do so with our own children. If you agree let me know. Look for more on this subject as the weeks continue.

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