It’s Ok To Be Different

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This time, I was the only white woman on my wing. It was uncomfortable and exciting all at the same time. During my 3 years at Cornell, I felt like Dorothy living in Oz. I was living in technicolor.

I felt energized and engaged. Even now, those 3 years stand out as some of the best years of my life. Based on my experiences, I have spent most of my adult life trying to better understand how children learn about the world around them. And today, I want to share with you some of the insights I have learned. When I talk about differences, I am using one word to describe many things. With that in mind, I encourage you to reflect and think about how you would describe yourself. If you need help, think about how someone who knows you well would describe you?

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Think about what makes you unique? I have found that when we talk about diversity, we often do 2 things. First, we start thinking about everyone else and skip the self-reflection. Second, we often think about the demographic differences that divide us: skin color, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, social class, age, ability, etc. Or maybe you could care less! Really, we should think of differences like an onion. There are layers of things that make us different.

At the very core are individual differences, shaped by our biology, personality, and individual quirks. The next layer is about our relationships with others including our partner, spouse, friends, co-workers, etc.

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The next layer is about family, which is also complicated because that includes the family we grew up in, as well as the family we create. We can keep going, we recognize that every single layer is unique to us. While my focus today is on the individual layer, I want to acknowledge the diversity that exists beyond ourselves. The increase in people of color, religious diversity, family composition, and openly gay and transgender individuals are just a few of the ways our country is changing.

In the book, Smith shrinks down the population of America to an imaginary village of people. Another reason to talk about differences is because our UU faith compels us to do so. Remember the 1 st and 2 nd principles:. In order to honor these principles, we need to talk to our kids and grandkids about differences. Another reason to talk about differences is to send a clear message that there is more than one way of being. Personally, one of my biggest frustrations with traditional religions is the underlying belief structure that declares there is only one way.

Only one god. Only one path. This narrow line of thinking is the underlying principle of so many different forms of prejudice, bias, and hatred. They encourage exclusiveness, and the feeling of being especially privileged. Compare that to the belief that differences are okay. This idea provides a worldview that has room for everyone.

There are multiple paths and journeys. And all paths are equally good and valid. To talk about differences, we have to feel comfortable as individuals. We have to be grounded in our own experiences and perspectives. We also need to create an environment where it is safe and comfortable to talk about differences. One way to make sure we have opportunities to talk about differences with our children is to consider an important educational framework that was created by Emily Style.

Doing so provides children with an equal understanding of themselves, as well as others.

It's Okay to be Different - Raising A Reader

This will help our children understand themselves and their place in the diverse world around them. This framework helps me make sense of my educational upbringing. I realize I spent 18 years of my life surrounded by mirrors! But fortunately for me, my college experience gave me the opportunity to gaze out many, many windows. Without a doubt, looking out windows and learning about diversity were the most meaningful aspects of my college experience. This is a good time to think about your home.

It's Okay to be Different - Read by Sherry

I have no doubt that you have mirrors around your home. Take a moment and think about ways you could provide more windows. Some hints are books, toys, movies, music, and invited guests……. In addition to providing mirrors and windows, we also need some a specific set of tools when we talk about differences. In the late 80s, a progressive group of educators developed an anti-bias approach to cultural diversity.

They wanted to do more than simply acknowledge diversity. Join HuffPost Plus. MORE: Teen. Real Life. Real News. Real Voices. Let us know what you'd like to see as a HuffPost Member. Canada U. US News. World News. Social Justice. Donald Trump. Queer Voices. Black Voices. Latino Voices.

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Asian Voices. HuffPost Personal. Special Projects. Pride Impact: Project Zero. Impact: This New World. Listen to America. The Feelings Book includes the intelligent The Feelings Book includes the intelligent quirkiness of his other books but this time Parr addresses emotions. Sometimes I feel like standing on my The Grandpa Book. With his notable and characteristic vibrant illustrations and simple, but poignant text, Todd Parr celebrates With his notable and characteristic vibrant illustrations and simple, but poignant text, Todd Parr celebrates the special bond between grandparents and grandchildren.

From golfing Grandpas to Grandpas who wiggle their ears, tell stories, and give kisses, this book is a The I Love You Book. I love you when you give me kisses. I love you when you need hugs Most of all, I love you just the way you are. In this Love the World.

15 Books That Show Kids It’s Okay to Be Different

A celebration of love, respect, peace, and unity by bestselling author and illustrator Todd Parr. Love your grin. Love your skin. Love the bees. Love the trees. Love giving a hand. Love taking a stand. What the world needs The Mommy Book. With his trademark, child-like art, Todd Parr celebrates mothers, whether they drive a minivan or

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