As the Health Families Home Visiting program, we work with people of different backgrounds. We don’t know what to expect when we walk into someone’s home, all we know is that we have to respect the family, be open-minded, and curious. We do a ‘family values activity’ where we learn more about the family we work with: their traditions, values, parenting styles, goals, etc.
After learning more about them, we customize our home visits around their goals and values. We asked a co-worker of ours with personal experience dealing with diversity for his input.
“Children are naturally curious, so it should be no surprise that they ask questions and lots of them,” said Eddie A.
“It is important to make sure the answers are age appropriate. In my experience, there is an opportunity to learn every day. Remember that people are always coming in and out of your life, they are focused on their day, and will probably notice you for three seconds then continue on with their day. I’ll admit that the stares I get when I go out in public use to bother me, however, if I could turn those ’Stares into Cares’ ™️ I can teach a very curious young mind a moment in diversity. A woman and her kids were at the Boone County Fair, they went to a tent where I was volunteering at, when I heard the young boy ask his mom, ’Why does he have a robot leg?’ I commend this mother because instead of walking away, she walked up to me and asked me what happened. I briefly told her and her children that my leg was amputated after a wrestling accident in high school and I told her that I was more than happy to share my story. Experiences like that are a positive one in my book because the mom saw me for who I am: a human with a disability and not the other way around. It is important to remember that not everyone is ok with sharing, and we should respect their wishes. If you are a parent that wants to show a more diverse community to your children, I think it is important to ask questions and lots of them, be polite to others, and treat everyone with dignity. It is always a good time to learn something new.”
So how do we learn something new and teach our children to be curious and open-minded about other’s differences in a non-judgmental way?
A great way to begin teaching is to read to your children and expose them to books that celebrate diversity. Another great way is to introduce them to different cultural experiences and activities in the community that highlight diversity.
Normalizing that everyone is different and it’s ok to be curious while staying open-minded.
When speaking to others or asking questions, be mindful of pronouns, pronunciations, nicknames, language, and learning styles.
Remember to always respect another person’s willingness to share.
-Healthy Families Home Visiting Team