“Never too Young: Parenting in a Diverse World”
Mt Washington Elementary
Presentation By Monique Marshall
Summary By Patty Hencken (PTA Secretary)
1) Its okay to disagree– not okay to blame or shame self or others – Having an opinion is important. Be mindful of how you communicate it. We process information differently because of our different backgrounds/personalities.
2) Be aware of intent and impact– sometimes our messages are perceived incorrectly. It’s important to take time to ask questions in order to understand other people’s feelings/actions. Ask yourself “What impact am I having on others?”
3) Practice Self- Focus– Use “I” and not “we” statements. Develop your own identity not the groups. Important for us to have self-awareness of who we are. Important for us to celebrate differences rather than try to hide them. Ask yourself- “How do I react in various situations? What role do I play? Unfriendly, Ally, Target, Bystander?”
4) Practice both/and thinking– multiple perspective thinking benefits everyone
5) Lean into discomfort/take risks– safety is mandatory, comfort is optional – We tend to resist change because our minds want to avoid discomfort. We need to create a save space to have open communication. Once it becomes a habit it will become “NORMAL.”
6) Approach with beginner’s mind– Don’t make assumptions. Ask questions so we can understand from other’s perspective.
7) Parking lot options– Having meaningful conversations about feeling and emotions takes time. Keep a list of items that you feel should be discussed. It’s important to dig beneath the surface to understand source of emotions. Typically it is a reflection of something that is bothering us about ourselves. This will lead to awareness, and ability to let go!
8) We all have multiple dimensions with the core being our personality. Dimensions include – Gender, Ethnicity, Appearance, Language, Education, Employment, Clubs, Organizations, Grade, Affiliations, Hobbies, Family Structure, Physical/Mental ability, etc. Some are perceived positively and others negatively. We tend to only want to share things perceived or stereotyped as positive.
9) When you are part of a group you have to be cautious to reflect on things you may take for granted which may be misinterpreted and hurtful to others’ feelings.
10) Language is powerful. When we don’t discuss difficult topics, we are sending a message. Children develop awareness of differences at a young age. Its important to teach them to be aware of stereotypes. This will empower us not to be oppressed by them. And helps communicate to the “oppressor” the role they play in your life, so it doesn’t continue happening.
11) Let kids be who they are– “LOVE THEMSELVES” – have to accept everyone for who they are and create inclusive environments.
12) The home is the first classroom. We are in a partnership with our teachers. Its time to be responsive. There is strength in a CONNECTED COMMUNITY.