How do you talk to your children about racism? Has the recent events in America prompted a conversation with your children? I hope it has, because this is your opportunity as a father to do the right thing and teach your children that hatred and prejudice are wrong and have no place.
Children are not born with hate for people due to skin colour, race, or even language. They are taught this behavior, either at home or on the playground. As a parent I feel that the responsibility rests on our shoulders to teach our sons and daughters how to treat people with dignity and respect.
My son, who is only 7 years old, asked me why there were “very mean and angry people” with torches on the news. Rather than be stumped by this question and fumble over meaningless excuses, I remembered the man who taught me right from wrong and channeled those lessons from my Grandfather, and I hope perhaps if there are some of you fathers who need guidance can use this advice: Tell Them The Damn Truth!
We mince words to often and avoid the heart of this issue. I told my son exactly what he was seeing:
“They are people who don’t like other people who don’t look like them, or come from other countries. They are wrong.”
My son, like many children his age learning about the world asked, “Which Countries?”
“Countries like Syria, China, or India…”
“But my friend is from India and she is really nice! They really sound like a bunch of bullies! We need to stop them now!”
And to me, that’s a parenting win. We have taught my eldest son from the moment he started interacting with other children to be inclusive and stand up for what’s right, always. I don’t hide my feelings when I believe something is wrong, and I’m glad that has rubbed off on my little doppelganger.
“We should fight them, Daddy.”
The slope gets slippery here, but don’t back off:
“Yes son, we should and we do. We fight them everyday by saying that they are wrong. We fight them by telling them we don’t believe what they believe is right. We never raise our fists first. We use our words, and we act in a way that helps people or protects people. Always.”
Not to sound preachy here Dads, but if you haven