Teaching Diversity Through the Crayon Box
For children, one part of building empathy is the ability to be tolerant of diversity.
When I was a kid, one of my favorite things was to get a new box of crayons. Not just any box: THE BIG BOX with all the colors. I relished in reading all of the labels - carnation pink, raw sienna, spring green, thistle, turquoise blue- and dream of pictures that would include all 64 crayons.
Children are open to diversity - but they are taught to fear it by the adults in their lives.
So how can you help your kids develop a tolerance of diversity?
One easy way is to talk to your children about the colors in the crayon box and compare those colors to the differences and outward appearances of the diverse world that we live in.
Make your comments about others in a positive way, but highlight the differences. We are all different but being different is okay. If everyone was the same, life would be very boring.
Next time you buy a new box of crayons, splurge and get the BIG ONE! Let your child pick their five favorite colors and then play a game of ‘trading’ one color to try a new one, even if it wasn’t one of their favorites. Draw with your child, following their lead. If they are into Dinosaurs, Dragons, Rainbows or Princesses - draw with them. Encourage your kids to draw whatever it is they want, even if it seems funny or strange to you.
As parents and caregivers, it is our job to impart the beauty of diversity. Our children are listening and watching our every action, so help your child embrace diversity by practicing tolerance every day.