Learning to Fight With Our Words

Teaching my children to value and appreciate difference in others is important to me. I hate the idea of “color blindness.” I don’t want to teach my children not to see race, but to value it as a uniqueness that broadens our stories. We talk frequently about the differences between them and their friends. We always point out that the color of their skin doesn’t define them as a person; what matters most is what’s on the inside. I love that in Jace’s class there are Turkish children and Asian children and African American children and Hispanic children. I love that he is learning to appreciate cultures outside of his own. I love that Jeremy’s teacher helps her students to respect everyone regardless of differences.

Today I took the opportunity to enhance our conversations about racial disparity by teaching the boys about Martin Luther King Jr. We talked about how it would feel if I told them only Jeremy could play video games…that Jace could never play. They explained that that wasn’t fair. Together we read two stories:

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Martin’s Big Words and Coretta are beautiful, award-winning texts that are great for younger children. The description and beauty of each are memorable and unique. The boys latched on to hose Big Words in both: peace, love, hope, rights…And I love what they learned, what they repeated over and over without prompting:
“Martin wanted us to fight with our words, not with our fists.”

Jeremy began to grasp the separation discussed in the stories, expressing multiple times how being prevented from doing things that are important is unfair.

We finished our lesson with doves of peace.

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