As my 5 year old daughter describes herself, she’s “a fan of crafts” and when she’s not dancing or running then she’s drawing or painting. Lately she’s been sketching lots of still life pictures – although she calls it “copying things” and she impresses me with her accuracy and attention to detail.
Within these details one exception is made – skin colour. She may draw a picture of me with perfect accuracy down to the number of buttons on my shirt but she colours my (white) skin, all other natural skintones of brown, black, or maybe yellow (not purple, this is a “real life” picture).
I’m tempted to ask her why but I don’t want to draw attention to why I’m asking. I like to believe it’s because it just doesn’t matter. She has no concept that one skin colour is really any different than wearing a different colour shirt and as she tells me “brown is a beautiful colour for skin” – and she’s right.
Our real-life momstown friends are the colour of the rainbow (well, the brown and beige side, not the purple side!) My kids seem to graciously understand and accept that not everyone looks the same – and that’s a good thing. Just like we don’t all dress the same or talk the same (by the way, any language that’s not English is mislabelled “Spanish” in our house – thank you Dora for that early intervention!).
On the weekend, I was making the kids western sandwiches for lunch and I had one white egg and one brown egg on the counter. Of course, they started to argue over the eggs because they were different and they wanted their lunch to be exactly the same and fair all round.
I tried to reason with them and explain the eggs would taste the same. The spatting continued so to prove the point, I cracked each egg into a different bowl to show them that indeed, each egg looked the same inside with a yolk and gooey egg white. Each bowl was identical. Just the shells were different.
This experiment silenced the kids. Then my daughter pipes up, “That makes sense Mommy. It’s just like people, different colours on the outside and the same on the inside”.
Now, if that wasn’t an after school special lesson, I’m not sure what is.
How do you teach your children about differences?