Teach your children to love their differences | A Better Kinder Awesome | Spencil

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Teach your children to love their differences

Imagine a world where everything looked, smelt, tasted, sounded and felt the same.

The unique qualities in each of us is what makes our world such a fascinating place. We’re on a mission to celebrate the differences that make your children their most wonderous and unique selves.

From the freckle on your nose,
to your longer second toes…
Why would you ever want to blend in
when you were born to stand out?

So we congratulate you mums and dads (we call you MaDs) on the amazing effort you make every single day to nurture each little quirk your children possess and honour the quirks of others. Your efforts alone are helping us to create a kinder, better and more awesome world, where children can CELEBRATE THEIR DIFFERENCES and the differences of those around them. 

Because they notice

Kids are curious and naive as they explore the world around them. We understand that by the age of five children can notice differences between themselves and others such as gender, race, physical attributes and visible expressions of culture or religious belief. Education and open conversation with children about difference at home and in the class room helps children learn to not fear or be confused by differences. Instead, they learn to understand, embrace and celebrate them.

We don’t pretend to be experts so we were grateful to find Ellen Fraser-Barbour’s perspective so beautifully told from her own lived experience, particularly her instructive telling of her interaction with Jason. It might be as helpful to you as it has to us.

These are tricky conversations. Maybe a cute perspective we use to think about diversity could help…

The Animal Kingdom – The Greatest Diversity Show on Earth!

The amazingly unique characteristics of animals inspire wonder and awe in kids and adults alike and are helpful in talking about and celebrating the differences kids are observing in their own world. There are so many examples. The giraffe’s long neck means he can see further than most and reach the highest leaves. The monkey’s tail helps him swing from tree to tree. Australia’s unique wildlife have equally unique poos so wonderfully celebrated in Squiggle, Diddle, Pop!

The point is, animals which are vastly different from each other don’t simply co-exist.
They live and thrive together.

Experts tell us there are three qualities that help kids become diversity champions – curiosity, supportiveness and pride. Talking about these traits in animals helps us demonstrate the value of subtle and big differences in making our world extraordinary.

Monkey and her baby in the beautiful hill top of Kodaikanal, Tamil Nadu, India. Photo by Ahmed Zayan on Unsplash Be Curious, Like The Monkey

Monkeys are naturally curious, always trialling and testing their environment to broaden their understanding of it. Echidnas are brave AND curious and will stick their noses in dark holes to feel what’s there. Dolphins will come up beside a boat to check out what you’re doing. Cats will scratch on a closed door to find what’s on the other side. Dogs sniff each other when they meet to work out if they are friend or foe.

Kids’ natural curiosity can be instructive for us all.

When a child knows that it’s more than okay to observe and speak about the differences they see, we all gain. If we never ask, we never learn and if we never learn, how can we appreciate?

Portrait of a Cape Buffalo with an Oxpecker removing insects from its skin. Photo by Chris Stenger on UnsplashBe Supportive, Like The Otter

Otters work in teams to build dams together and hold hands when they sleep so they don’t float away from each other. Wolves run and hunt for food in packs and share the spoils. A bee hive has millions of bees but every individual has a very important job to create the honey. Birds pick off insects or parasites to keep large animals like cows and buffalo from getting sick. Dung beetles clean up their poo.

We want kids to support and celebrate one another, no matter how different they may be.

Seeing others’ differences as positive encourages kids to be confident in being themselves.

Which segues us nicely to ’the king‘ of the animal kingdom.

Glorious peacock on full display for his girl

Be Proud, Like The Lion

Lions look different to every other animal. They have large manes but still they sit proud on the highest rock and roar loud for all to hear. Kookaburras have a laugh like no other but they call and sing so you can hear them for miles. Peacocks have to carry around so many enormous feathers but they do it with pride – strutting and fanning their glorious colourful display. Girl peacocks appreciate it but their magnificence may sadly be lost on other birds and animals!

Pride in their differences allows children to be resilient, confident and passionate about being who they are.

In the adult world we might call it ’letting your freak flag fly‘. Being proud of what makes you you and letting yourself be the amazingly unique person you were born to be is your gift to the world.

Thank you for you

Creating wondrous, unique, extraordinary individuals is no small feat. The world is a better place when unique individuals are being their best unique selves, together.

Every difference is a gift.

So from Spencil, thank you for giving us you and raising children who are themselves too.

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