Raising healthy, well-rounded children can be a challenge in the modern world, particularly in my family. My parents are very Italian, despite having lived in Australia for most of their lives, and for anyone whose parents are very-their-particular-nationality, you’ll know what I mean.
It means that whenever my dad meets new people, after he asks what your name is his next question is always, ‘what nationality are you?’ or ‘where are your parents from?’
For my father there are only a few nationalities he is interested in discussing – Italian, Greek, Lebanese, Maltese, Spanish and then everyone else is in the ‘other’ category. As in my dad knows nothing about their country and therefore doesn’t have much to say, but he will still offer you coffee.
Just as an FYI, you should know that this post is sponsored by Eleven Kids. But all opinions expressed by the author are 100% authentic and written in their own words.
Sadly, there are friends and family members who take it a step too far. They openly make fun of nationalities in front of my children and they speak negatively about different life choices. At first, I thought I had to protect my children from racist and bigoted views but now I see these friends and family members as a gift because they reflect beliefs my children will eventually be exposed to in everyday life. Hearing different views early in life is a valuable opportunity to discuss these beliefs and issues. Just because someone my children loves has a particular view of a certain race or life choice, doesn’t mean they should allow themselves to be influenced by it.
The lesson being – loving someone doesn’t mean agreeing with all their views.
It’s a conversation that I have started early with my children and one that won’t end until diversity is celebrated and embraced, in all its forms.
It doesn’t help that Australian television does little to reflect the diversity we see in our lives. It doesn’t help that ethnic comedy (while successfully hilarious) is still such a point of difference. Australia is filled with different ethnicities and so what. Isn’t it normal yet?
I want my children to see people, not nationalities or skin colour or facial differences.