Diverse thoughts, tamed by mutual respect

Welcome to the July 2013 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Learning About Diversity

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared how they teach their children to embrace and respect the variety of people and cultures that surround us. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

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I grew up in a very liberal family of Democrats that opposed every fear-mongering, shaming, or oppressive decision that Republican lawmakers and politicians made, or even brought forward as a thought.  I rooted for President Clinton, I vehemently argued that Al Gore and Joe Liberman were the obvious choice for our nations leadership in my middle school debate class, and I remember with joy and (a few tears in my eyes, thinking about it) attending a Democratic convention in Houston with Abbey snuggled on my chest in a Moby wrap the night that President Obama was elected. I also grew up (and still am) Roman Catholic.

And, yet, many of my friends, both in real life and within my online peers, are hard and fast conservatives. And many are protestant, Jewish, agnostic, atheist, and even pagan.

How can this be? you ask. It’s an easy answer, though not a very easy discipline to get used to practicing:

mutual respect.

You see, everyone in our world is going to be in some way different than you are. It doesn’t matter how similar you are to someone. In some way there will be a difference – in race, socio-economic status, opinion, belief, personality, or cognitive ways (just to name a few).

In our country, it seems that most of us allow these differences in race, age, religion, faith, opinion, or political belief to divide us and pitch us against each other in sensational debates and big, raucous news stories. At a certain point, I said to myself, “why do we always have to argue?”1360757052_a551272cf9

It occurred to me that I could disagree with someone, even on a really serious issue, and I could still treat that person with respect. I can stand up for something, even loudly, without arguing violently. And that’s how I have been trying to live, ever since I had that thought. It’s been a journey for sure, and my blood pressure still starts to rise when I read about a mother being harassed for breastfeeding in public, or someone thinks me a bully for promoting breastfeeding and informing on formula risks, or I read an article about how someone thinksMr. Rogers was a horrible influence on children (really, now?).

But it is our diversity, in being and in thought, that gives our world vitality. If we were all the same, things would be pretty boring. The trick to living with this diversity is to not let our personal beliefs make us ugly people, or keep us from socializing with those that differ from us. To really try to live practicing compassion and collaboration, and allow our mistakes to be lessons to improve upon ourselves in some way. It’s when diverse minds come together that we have our best and most influential movements. And it all starts with mutual respect.

How do you practice mutual respect in your life?

Can you think of a time that diversity of thought or belief impacted your life? How did respect play (or not play) a part?

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Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(This list will be updated by afternoon July 9 with all the carnival links.)

  • A gift for my daugther — Amanda, a special education teacher for students with multiple exceptionalities, discusses at My Life in a Nutshell how she will enrich her daughter’s life by educating her the amazing gifts her students will bring to the world.
  • The Beauty in Our Differences — Meegs at A New Day writes about her discussions with her daughter about how accepting ourselves and those around us, with all our beautiful differences and similarities, makes the world a better place.
  • Accepting Acceptance and Tolerating Tolerance — Destany at They Are All of Me examines the origins of and reasons behind present day social conformity.
  • Differencessustainablemum discusses what she feels to be the important skills for embracing diversity in her family home.
  • Turning Japanese — Erin Yuki at And Now, for Something Completely Different shares how she teaches her kiddos about Japanese culture, and offers ideas about “semi immersion” language learning.
  • Celebrating Diversity at the International House Cottages — Mommy at Playing for Peace discovers the cultures of the world with her family at local cultural festivals
  • Learning About Diversity by Honoring Your Child’s Multiple Heritages — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama looks at the importance of truly knowing your roots and heritage and how to help children honor their multiple heritages.
  • People. PEOPLE! — Kellie at Our Mindful Life is trying to teach her children to use language that reflects respect for others, even when their language doesn’t seem to them to be disrespectful.
  • Just Call me Clarice Thomas — Lisa at The Squishable Baby knows that learning to understand others produces empathetic children and empathetic families.
  • Diversity of Families — Family can be much more then a blood relation. Jana at Jananas on why friends are so important for her little family of three.
  • Diverse Thoughts Tamed by Mutual Respect — Amy at Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work thinks that diversity is indispensable to our vitality, but that all of our many differences require a different sort of perspective, one led by compassion and mutual respect.
  • Just Shut Up! — At Old New Legacy, Becky gives a few poignant examples in her life when listening, communication and friendship have helped her become more accepting of diversity.
  • The World is our Oyster — Mercedes at Project Procrastinot is thankful for the experiences that an expat lifestyle will provide for herself as well as for her children.
  • Children’s black & white views (no pun intended … kind of) — Lauren at Hobo Mama wonders how to guide her kids past a childish me vs. them view of the world without shutting down useful conversation.
  • Raising White Kids in a Multicultural World — Leanna at All Done Monkey offers her two cents on how to raise white children to be self-confident, contributing members of a colorful world. Unity in diversity, anyone?
  • Ramadan Star and Moon Craft — Celebrate Ramadan with this star and moon craft from Stephanie at InCultureParent, made out of recycled materials, including your kid’s art!
  • Race Matters: Discussing History, Discrimination, and Prejudice with Children — At Living Peacefully with Children, Mandy discusses how her family deals with the discrimination against others and how she and her husband are raising children who are making a difference.
  • The Difference is Me – Living as the Rainbow Generation — Terri at Child of the Nature Isle, guest posting at Natural Parents Network, is used to being the odd-one-out but walking an alternative path with children means digging deeper, answering lots of questions and opening to more love.
  • My daughter will never know same-sex marriage is not normal — Doña at Nurtured Mama realizes that the recent Supreme Court rulings on same-sex marriage will change the way she talks to her daughter about her own past.
  • Montessori-Inspired Respect for Diversity — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now tells about her multicultural family and shares Montessori-inspired ideas for encouraging respect for diversity.
  • EveryDay Diversity — Ana at Panda & Ananaso makes diversity a part of everyday living, focusing on raising of compassionate and respectful child.
  • Diversity as Part of Life — Even though Laura at Authentic Parenting thought she had diversity covered, she found out that some things are hard to control.
  • Inequity and Privilege — Jona is unpacking questions raised by a summit addressing inequity in breastfeeding support at Life, Intertwined.
  • 3 Ways to Teach Young Children About Diversity — Charise at I Thought I Knew Mama recognizes her family’s place of privilege and shares how she is teaching her little ones about diversity in their suburban community.
  • Teaching diversity: tales from public school — A former public high school teacher and current public school parent, Jessica at Crunchy-Chewy Mama values living in a diverse community.
  • 30 Ideas to Encourage Learning about Diversity While Traveling — Traveling with kids can bring any subject alive. Dionna at Code Name: Mama has come up with a variety of ways you can incorporate diversity education into your family travels (regardless of whether you homeschool). From couch surfing to transformative reading, celebrate diversity on your next trip!
  • Diversity, huh? — Jorje of Momma Jorje doesn’t do anything BIG to teach about diversity; it’s more about the little things.
  • Chosen and Loved — From Laura at Pug in the Kitchen: Color doesn’t matter. Ethnicity doesn’t matter. Love matters.
  • The One With The Bright Skin — Stefanie at Very Very Fine tries to recover from a graceless reponse to her son’s apparent prejudice.

Comments

  1. So very true. I’m honestly not sure what the political persuasions are for many of our friends because it doesn’t matter.

    I always add jobs to my list of diversity as well – we have friends who are carpenters and who are statisticians. Friends who own tattoo shops and who have their MBAs and work in investment banking. It makes life much more interesting!

  2. This is so important! I totally agree with emphasizing respect (even if I don’t, um, always remember…). I have many friends and loved ones who have different beliefs, but we can still get along.

  3. Hi Amy! Great post. I agree that everyone seems to be more divisive in today’s world (maybe it’s always been like that, but I suspect the Internet is to blame in probing into personal thoughts and opinions.) I’ve actually been “disappointed” to read family’s political views on Facebook, but then when we see each other, everything is fine (at least on my end.) When I leave the house, I seem to forget about friends’ posts, which makes it easier to focus on the here and now when speaking to a family member or friend. A part of mutual respect in concentrating on what I have in common with this person. Usually it’s the kids. It was awkward when the neighbor moms were all talking to each other the day after Election Night- upset with the outcome. I wasn’t included, kinda by choice, I just think it’s easier to not talk about my personal views with people I want to like or like me back. Maybe I’m not giving them enough credit. It’s also easier to see others’ points of view when you find common ground.

  4. Of course you know this, but this is one reason I’m so in love with our NPN volunteer community – that we have diverse opinions on some really touchy subjects, but we can discuss them and still respect those we disagree with. It’s such an important skill to develop!

  5. This is such an important aspect of diversity – diversity of opinions and beliefs. Good for you for having such deep respect for people whose beliefs are different from yours. It is a tough thing to practice but so important!

  6. Such an important thing to keep in mind…I have lots of friends from where I grew up (Oklahoma) that are pretty conservative, but we grew up together and I try to remember the thing we have in common. I think FB has a tendency to bing out the worst in people’s views and I try not to pay much attention to that! Like a previous commenter said, usually in person things are much more even keeled.

  7. Thanks so much for this post.

    Yeah, this is so important. Not everybody thinks a like. It’s a part of life. Mutual respect is essential. Everyday – I run into people who do not agree with me politically and morally. It’s everyday life for me. I try to remember to stay calm and respect their choices and ideas – just as I expect them to respect mine.

    It works.

    It can and does work!

    Thanks for sharing!

  8. I agree that everyone seems to be more divisive in today’s world (maybe it’s always been like that, but I suspect the Internet is to blame in probing into personal thoughts and opinions.) I’ve actually been “disappointed” to read family’s political views on Facebook, but then when we see each other, everything is fine (at least on my end.) When I leave the house, I seem to forget about friends’ posts, which makes it easier to focus on the here and now when speaking to a family member or friend.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Diverse Thoughts Tamed by Mutual Respect — Amy at Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work thinks that diversity is indispensable to our vitality, but that all of our many differences require a different sort of perspective, one led by compassion and mutual respect. [...]

  2. [...] Diverse Thoughts Tamed by Mutual Respect — Amy at Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work thinks that diversity is indispensable to our vitality, but that all of our many differences require a different sort of perspective, one led by compassion and mutual respect. [...]

  3. [...] Diverse Thoughts Tamed by Mutual Respect — Amy at Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work thinks that diversity is indispensable to our vitality, but that all of our many differences require a different sort of perspective, one led by compassion and mutual respect. [...]

  4. [...] Diverse Thoughts Tamed by Mutual Respect — Amy at Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work thinks that diversity is indispensable to our vitality, but that all of our many differences require a different sort of perspective, one led by compassion and mutual respect. [...]

  5. [...] Diverse Thoughts Tamed by Mutual Respect — Amy at Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work thinks that diversity is indispensable to our vitality, but that all of our many differences require a different sort of perspective, one led by compassion and mutual respect. [...]

  6. [...] Diverse Thoughts Tamed by Mutual Respect — Amy at Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work thinks that diversity is indispensable to our vitality, but that all of our many differences require a different sort of perspective, one led by compassion and mutual respect. [...]

  7. [...] Diverse Thoughts Tamed by Mutual Respect — Amy at Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work thinks that diversity is indispensable to our vitality, but that all of our many differences require a different sort of perspective, one led by compassion and mutual respect. [...]

  8. [...] Diverse Thoughts Tamed by Mutual Respect — Amy at Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work thinks that diversity is indispensable to our vitality, but that all of our many differences require a different sort of perspective, one led by compassion and mutual respect. [...]

  9. […] Diverse Thoughts Tamed by Mutual Respect — Amy at Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work thinks that diversity is indispensable to our vitality, but that all of our many differences require a different sort of perspective, one led by compassion and mutual respect. […]

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