This post was developed in collaboration with P&G as a part of their Love Over Bias campaign.
Our world is full of division right now. Couldn’t we all use a little talk on how to encourage love and acceptance?
The 2018 Winter Olympics are in full swing and I am in heaven. The Olympics bring out my patriotic side, 150% percent. There’s something about watching people who have trained and trained and trained for this moment to represent their country. I feel so much pride as the USA does well, and live for the “People Magazine” moments that are shared – you know, the back stories on how people came to be.. where they are from, who supported them along the way? Having my own kids, one who is extremely involved in sports, makes me think about all of the moms and dads behind the scenes. The ones who got up early with their kid for years, in the cold, to make sure they were where they needed to be. I can only imagine the pride they feel when their children succeed and the heartbreak when their child doesn’t.
For Winter Olympics, P & G created an awesome video:
I really love writing about parenthood – the ups, the downs, the in betweens. I’ve posted tons of parenting guidelines – all things that I am NOT good at and constantly working on, trying to improve how we raise our kids to be successful adults. The core of who I want to be as a parent is someone who teaches kindness and love, acceptance and forgiveness.
You see, when I became a mom, I thought that my kids would all be cute, well behaved geniuses. Ha! I never could have known that our family would have been a little different. Sure I had worked with kids with special needs throughout my teenage years. But me? The mom of a child with autism? WHAT? Never ever did I think I had the patience, love, or understanding to care for someone who was different. Having our sweet J, has opened my eyes to love and acceptance in a way that nothing else could have. It’s really hard to fully explain how it feels to be a mom who has a different circumstance than lots of people around her. It can feel lonely, isolating and depressing at times. But the bottom line is, we LOVE. We love our kids. We love our families. We care about how others around us treat them. Just like every other mom or dad. Don’t we all just want the best for our kids? We all want them to grow, flourish and be happy.
If you’re thinking, ‘that’s all great and well, but how do I encourage love and acceptance in my family?’ Here are a few things that I think can go a long way:
- Example, example, example.
I know everyone has heard it a million times. But kids learn by example. If you aren’t accepting and loving, your kids will learn this. Work on the way you talk about others around you because your kids will pick up on this.
- Surround yourself with people that don’t look like you/have the same circumstances.
For a very long time I was around people that did stuff just like me. It’s natural to be that way – you hang out with people who have things in common. But I want to encourage you to step out of your comfort zone and make friends with those who do things differently, grew up different, etc. I have learned the very most from people who are unlike me. While I grew up in an LDS home, we went to temple with our Jewish friends, CCD with Catholic friends, went to activities with my Baptist friends. I appreciate that my parents didn’t object to being around other people who believe differently than me.
As a special needs mom, I would encourage you to spend time around kids with special needs. Not only do special needs kids learn appropriate behaviors, language and more from typical kids.. but typical kids learn TONS from special needs kids. It’s a win/win!
- Talk about it.
Even though kids learn a lot from you by your behavior, they also need to talk things through. Having conversations with your children about differences, acceptance and how to be a good friend are super important. Obviously each child is different so some will be more open to talking about it than others.
I I love love love this quote. It is SO true. Download your own copy of the quote.
Here are a few books that are great for kids about acceptance in different areas:
- The Sandwich Swap by Queen Rania of Jordan Al Abdullah
- Children Just Like Me by Barnabas Kindersley
- Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson
- My Brother Charlie by Holly Robinson Peete
How do you teach acceptance and love in your family?