June is national Pride month. In the Twin Cities, Pride culminates the weekend of June 26, with the parade on Sunday. Aside from being an awesome family-friendly event in Loring Park with just so much fun to be had, it’s also a chance for kids from all kinds of families to play and interact. Kids learn love from us, so let’s make sure they learn to love all families, even if they don’t look like the one they are growing up in.
My kids have two moms. This isn’t earth-shattering, and it certainly isn’t to them. My three year old is also very aware that families come in all sorts of configurations and she happily plays house with a variety of family structures represented. Some of her friends have a mommy and a daddy, some of them have just a mommy, others have two moms like hers and still others have grandparents raising them. Likewise, her friends come in all shades, abilities and socioeconomic classes. But to her, they are all just her friends. Because it really can be that simple.
Now, I’m not saying my daughter is on higher moral ground, but I believe her awareness and acceptance is because we have made it a point in our family to embrace the differences. And embracing starts by acknowledging. Kids are curious. Kids are observant. These two truths are unanimously agreed upon by all of the parents I know. Kids have likely noticed these differences already, it’s our choice (and I would argue prerogative) as parents to give them the language, empathy and understanding to align them in their own minds. Difference does not equal inferior. It should mean more people to learn from with insights different than our own. More ways to experience the world around us. More ways to love.
Knowing that we can be loved exactly as we are gives us all the best opportunity for growing into the healthiest of people.
– Fred Rogers
We have been teaching and showing our kids that everyone deserves to be loved exactly as they are. And yes, my family may be different than yours, but I’d venture that every family is different than yours in a variety of ways. Maybe it’s easy to get caught up in the differences, but I think it’s much more rewarding to focus on where we overlap and on how our differences can make us stronger. Let your kids ask questions about their friends’ families. If you don’t know the answers, ask someone who is willing to share their experience with you, perhaps the parent of that friend. Knowledge is power, right?!
Our kids are growing up in a much more connected world than we did – socially, intellectually, environmentally – with exposure to so much more – culturally, socioeconomically, politically. I hope we are leading by example and giving them the confidence and experiences to live fully connected the world over.