Monday, January 17, 2011

MLK Day

Last week, I talked to my six year old daughter about Martin Luther King in school.  I brought it home to her by asking her how she would feel if people didn't like her because she had hazel eyes.  She struggled on her essay writing for the lesson, which was to explore how she would feel if people discriminated against her because of her eye color.  At first, I thought she just didn't want to do school anymore for the day, but then it dawned on me how upsetting it was for her to do this lesson.  I didn't back off, though, because I want her to develop compassion and understanding of just how awful discrimination is.  I wanted her to feel it in her heart so she remembers to treat others well.

I think it is very important that we teach our children how it feels to be discriminated by others for things such as skin tone, nationality or religion.  The only thing discrimination does is tears apart our nation.  I know we have come a long way and Martin Luther King would be proud of the progress, but I really feel we have a long way to go.

As parents, we need to put any prejudices we have aside and not pass them on to our children.  We need to encourage them to respect anyone they meet, regardless of race, ethnicity, religion and even sexual orientation.

I hope on this day, you take a moment to examine your own prejudices and make an effort to teach your children tolerance.

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