The inclusion series is for my children and any other loving people who live in our humble world. It was birthed from an onslaught of great questions and my own lack of education, which necessitated a fun series about this topic.
Every day we bear witness to humans of all sorts of beliefs, abilities, body-types, skin-tones and socio-economic background but we often participate in communities that are one-dimensional. Our homes, our neighborhoods, our schools, our religious institutions-- our understanding of what exists is so very small. Because of this, when you’re out with kids and they see something new, their reactions are hard to navigate. Parents are often left mouth agape, dumbfounded that children don’t automatically know how normal it is to be different.
I suppose exposure is something we develop much later in life. I’ve tried to think about the first time I saw a disability and how my parents talked to me about it—I draw a blank. Surely there was always as much diverse representation. Did I not question it? Was I ashamed or afraid to ask? Was I just shushed and ushered away? We definitely did not learn about disabilities in school or how to engage with people of disability. Or did I miss that class? I’m not certain.
So fast forward. I’m a mom now. With two deliciously curious children who are not ashamed to point things out and ask direct questions. Within my small circle, I am blessed to witness and admire a multitude of faiths, identities and ethnicities, as well as varying abilities. I even have family and friends with conditions such as PMG, Tourettes, Downs, Autism, Cerebral Palsy, 1p36, Alopecia and Vitiligo. (PSA, If you or your child don’t know what some of these things are— this series is for you.) I often talk to my children about these things so they are equipped to navigate relationships with all the people in their lives. It wasn’t until another parent asked me how my children are so good at it, that I realized that resources for children on these matters are pretty sparse. Being the nerd that I am, I’ll ask Siri any question that pops into my head and my children picked up that habit fast. I’m happy to get lost in Wikipedia for hours and I’ll slurp up any great blog-post (like this one, ahem) that talks about a topic of interest. But researching every differing trait of other humans and then formulating that into a discussion for kids is time consuming and really impractical.
So back to this parent. They looked at me and said “Teach my kid. Please… or teach me..but we all need to know.” And so this series was born.