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Helping Children Respect Diversity
November 6, 2002

"An individual without information cannot take responsibility; an individual who is given information cannot help but take responsibility."—Jan Carlzon


This week the first issue of Parenting Exchange was sent by email to subscribers. In addition, this week the Parenting Exchange Library was launched. One column from this library, "Help Kids by Role Modeling Respect for Diversity," offers advice to parents for helping their children prepare to live in a diverse world. In this column, Karen Stephens, the author of all Parenting Exchange articles, comments (in part): 

"....Most parents I know are raising children with solid expectations to respect the rights of all. And most go a step further by encouraging children to appreciate and enjoy diversity. They travel together and read about other countries. They encourage kids to try new foods when strolling international fairs. Cultural arts are woven in to family life by attending varied music and dance programs.

"But in some families, parents habitually put down or exclude members of cultures, races, or nationalities. They teach prejudice, not respect and understanding. Perpetuating stereotypes is a terribly destructive behavior. 

"There's absolutely no doubt that today's children will live a long life in a diverse world and a global economy. In school, at work, and in marriages, cultural and racial blending will continue, and most likely will increase.

"If parents teach children bias -- even hatred, children will be handicapped. Their ability to competently engage in diverse social interactions will be stunted. They'll be shortchanged, both personally and economically. Cultural differences, as well as similarities, contribute to the quality of everyone's life. To prepare children with the social skills they'll need, parents must model responding to diversity with grace, respect, acceptance, and appreciation. We must do far more than teach mere tolerance."

To learn about how you can share Parenting Exchange with your parents either as a subscriber or by purchasing columns from the Library, go to www.ChildCareExchange.com.


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