familyRacism isn’t born, folks, it’s taught. I have a two-year-old son. You know what he hates? Naps! End of list. –Dennis Leary

Our 8 year old wanted to know what would happen if we went back to the olden days,
“You know, when white people hated black people. Would that mean I’d have to hate black people too?”
“Do you hate them now?” I ask.
“Of course not” she says rolling her eyes at such a stupid question.
“Nobody can make you hate anybody. Only you are in control of how you decide to treat people.” I explain.
And so too another casual conversation ended. I was going to add a whole lot more, you know, create a mini lecture series about the evils of racism-but thought better of it.
It wasn’t necessary, she already knew.

Yep, no point lecturing kids about what they already know deep within. Instead, gently open their heart to let it out.

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  1. Ed says:

    Hi. We don’t have children yet, but this is a beautiful way to nurture the inherent good children bring into the world. It’s a technique I’d like to incorporate one day because it allows children to have their own thoughts and to feel secure in their ability to make up their own minds. I’m sure you already know all of that. I just wanted to say thanks for introducing me to another way to cultivate positive energy in the world.

  2. Sherry Palmer says:

    Cute story and very true.  You and Ian are gold nuggets.  :O)

  3. [...] great pieces on racism: Parenting Tip – Open Up by Soulseeds and Parenting Challenges: Race, Color, Identity and the Need to Belong by Christy at [...]

  4. chichi says:

    Kids are usually accepting of everyone and you were right not to lecture your daughter on the evils of racism. I like Dennis Leary’s quote too. I have a 6 year old son and he hates going to bed.

  5. Meg says:

    We can learn so much from the good nature of our children. Perhaps they should be ruling the world!

  6. diane says:

    My kids aren’t even allowed to “hate” naps…..hoping to carry over a no hate philosophy as a family legacy.  I ask them to reframe the wording and feeling of hate.  How casual humans blurt out “I hate that.”  Wording is important as it sets our intentions.  Practicing positive language and teaching what we say matters too.