I think we all want to do something here. Something to help. Something to make a difference. Something to bring unity to our divided world. But it’s hard to know what to do…what to tell our kids…what to say…where to start.
I say, we have to start somewhere. Because sometimes when our world feels so divided…so full of hate…so overwhelmingly out of our control, we just don’t know what to do and sometimes, sadly, we end up doing nothing.
But we can do something. We can absolutely be a part of bringing positive change to our world. Because I truly believe that what we do in our homes can make a difference!
THE MODELING TOOL--I just shared this tool with you yesterday about how bad habits can be formed simply by what we say in front of our kids. What are we saying about people that are different than we are? Are we instilling a hatred, a fear, a prejudice, a judgement without even realizing it? Think about the words you speak about others. Your kids are listening and learning and will follow your lead.
How can your words increase an awareness and appreciation for diversity?
THE 24/7 TOOL–When modeling unconditional love and kindness, we have opportunities every single day all throughout the day to instill a love and appreciation for others–no matter what their skin color. One thing I’ve always done is point out all the different colors, shapes, sizes, and uniqueness in nature and say: “God loves variety and that’s why He made us all look so different. That’s why He made us all different colors. That’s why He created such a beautiful, wonderful diverse palate in our world. And when you see anyone, no matter what color their skin is…no matter what shape or size they are…no matter what they look like…just remember this: God made them just the way He wanted them to be. And they are perfect in His eyes just the way they are.”
How can you use every minute as well as the world around you to inspire inclusion and a love for every race and color?
THE FAMILY IDENTITY TOOL--identify your family as people who love everyone—–who respects everyone, who values everyone, who sees everyone and who is no better than anyone.
- We are the Leebs and we are kind to everyone no matter what their skin color is.
- We are the Sanchez family and we believe that God calls us to treat everyone with respect…EVERYONE.
- We are the Zang family and we see everyone as beautiful and deserving of our kindness.
- We are the James family and we understand that this world may be divided, but we choose to seek peace and unity!
How can you use your family name to encourage a sense of belonging in what you believe promoting the just, fair, respectful treatment of others?
THE SERVICE TOOL--Modeling with our words is powerful, but modeling a love for EVERYONE in action is more powerful. One thing I recommend with your kids is finding ways to serve in your community. For years my oldest son and I have served the homeless population in our community together. Serving side by side with diverse people to help diverse people models the responsibility we all have to help ALL PEOPLE!
How can you include your kids in opportunities to share love to everyone in need in tangible ways?
THE TEACHING TOOL—As parents, our job is to teach our kids. Yes, we are already teaching them by what they hear us say and what they see us do, but we can also be very intentional about teaching them about the beauty of diversity as well as about what’s going on in this world in age-appropriate ways.
For younger kids—
- we can read books like All Are Welcome, We’re Different, We’re the Same or Teach Your Dragon About Diversity
- we can buy them diverse dolls or puppets and role-play sharing, kindness, and inviting others to play
- when we color pictures together, we can make people of different color and talk about how beautiful diversity is
For older kids, we do things with them that provide great talking points—
- we can read books like A Kids Book About Racism, Stamped: Racism, Antiracism and You, The Hate U Give (please check ages and appropriateness for your own kids)
- we can watch movies like The Perfect Game, And The Children Shall Lead, and Hidden Figures
- we can talk to them…have a deep heart-to-heart discussion about what’s going on and ask them to share their thoughts and feelings about it.
- we show them short video clips or news footage of what’s going on in our world right now and ask what they think we can do to make this world a better place and end racism–love all people, treat everyone with respect, and give everyone equal opportunities. I’ll bet your kids will surprise you with their answers.
How can you intentionally and proactively teach your kids in visual and hands-on ways connecting with their hearts in order to guide their hearts?
THE PRAYER TOOL—Every day, pray with your kids. Pray for God to bring His peace, His unity, and His love into all of our hearts. Ask God to shine His light on our racially divided world and ask for His wisdom for how each of us can make changes…what little things we can do to make a difference. Pray for God to increase our understanding and empathy of what others are going through and how we can help. And pray for Him to give us the courage to do it. What if every day, we all prayed together for unity?
How can you use the power of prayer to show your kids to rely on our true Source for change?
Sometimes it feels in tough situations like these, we can’t do anything to make a difference. But I hope you can make little choices applying these practical tools every day in your homes and…
- model kindness to EVERYONE
- use the world around you to share the beauty of God’s plan for diversity
- establish your family as a family who cares about and loves ALL PEOPLE
- serve others and giving to your community
- intentionally teach about the beauty of diversity and the sad reality of racism
- pray for His wisdom on how to work towards unity in our world.
I’m going to choose to be the change in my family and I hope you will too. I know some of these tools may fall short of uncovering the true brokenness behind the racial division in our country, but we have to try. We have to start somewhere!
Please share any other ideas or tools you have used or are using. We’re all in this together!
Lord, Your light shines more brilliantly in dark times. We are asking you to shine brightly and show us how you are working now and how we can work now in our homes…with our kids…to bring Your call to unity to life.
Here’s to building better families together–