It’s important for everyone to have an understanding, especially from a young age, that humanity is diverse. We all have our different strengths and weaknesses. It’s important to remember that one person’s strengths are not better or more important than someone else’s strengths, nor does it make them a better person.
In society we tend to value certain qualities more than others, and many of us tie our self-worth to our achievements and to feelings of being good at something. And if we’re not good at something, we often feel like a “failure.”
It can be difficult to know how to speak to your child about diversity, so here is a handy list of strategies to get you started:
1) Teach your child to have a healthy sense of self-worth.
Having a healthy sense of self-worth creates a foundation for us to show up authentically, to be fully ourselves, and to be able to have creative ideas and share that with others with less worry about what others may think about us.
It gives us the ability to connect with other human beings without putting our defenses up. And if your child has a healthy sense of self-worth then they are less likely to look at others with envy.
2) Teach your child that everyone is diverse in one way or another and that there are outwardly obvious features of diversity and those that are less obvious.
3) Teach your child the value of diversity, and give them a picture of what the world would be like without diversity.
For example, I often think about how boring it would be if everyone had the same interests or if everyone wanted to be in the same profession. Let’s imagine everyone wanted to be a scientist. That’s great, except we need the other professions as well—doctors, teachers, firefighters, accountants, artists, singers, etc.
4) Encourage your child in their uniqueness.
Ask your child what they’re passionate about (if you don’t already know). Validate and encourage their strengths and talents. Show them that there is beauty in using your gifts, especially when it benefits others. If you do this, your child will learn to encourage others in their giftings as well.
Having different strengths and interests not only makes life more interesting, colorful, and bright but also ensures we have a more well-rounded group.