Teaching our children about equality

Equality matters. It’s a topic we don’t tend to discuss enough as parents. The time to teach them is now. If you are a parent who is struggling to know how to talk to your kids about equality and equal rights for all, I hope what I am about to say is helpful to you in navigating these conversations with your kids, which should be happening on the regular. Kids learn from the parent’s example, so not only must you teach them about equality, but you must be an example of what it is.

Definition of equality

Start here. I would sit your children down for a formal discussion on this topic. A family council on a Sunday night would be perfect. Equality means “the state of being equal.” There is a fight to attain different kinds of equality, like racial equality, gender equality, or equality of opportunity between rich and poor. How can we help in each of these categories, and what part do we play living in this world to contribute to a more peaceful society? This is something we all must learn to do throughout our lives, and I believe it’s best to start teaching this while kids are young, and keep the conversation going as they’re growing up.

Racial Equality

Racial equality occurs when institutions give equal opportunities to people of all races, In other words, regardless of physical traits such as skin color, institutions are to give individuals legal, moral, and political equality. Sadly this isn’t happening in the world we live in. Many people are treated poorly and unfairly because of the color of their skin. This varies from state to state and there are a lot of “behind the scenes” inequality happening that we don’t hear about. I would recommend all parents give a listen to THIS speech on Youtube to get a better understanding of what is going on in the African American population before you teach racial equality. You need an idea of the “behind the scenes” inequality I am talking about. As you listen to the speech, take note of the things happening so you can teach them to your children.

Teach your children to stand up and speak up when they see inequality in race happening. Telling jokes, belittling, leaving out, laughing at, and denying privileges should not be tolerated. Role play to help them practice what to do, should they see any mistreatment in any way, with any skin color. They’ll feel more confident knowing what to do when the situation comes. And believe me, situations WILL come.

The hardest part of life for most kids, is wanting to fit in. When their friends are telling inappropriate jokes or making fun of another race, a lot of kids tend to laugh along or stay silent, even though they know deep down it’s wrong. Even if it makes them uncomfortable. They want so badly to fit in that they say nothing. Teach them that if they stay silent, they are contributing to the problem. They are accepting the problem and that in and of itself can be looked upon as racism. (If your children know the details of the George Floyd murder, now might be the time to bring up the other 3 cops who stood beside and watched him be killed, and did nothing.) If we continue to stand by and watch things happens, nothing changes. It’s time to do something. Stand up, and speak up!

Gender Equality

Just like things haven’t always been fair with races, gender equality was once a big problem in our country and still is amongst some people. America has painted a clear image of the roles women and men both play. Men are to go work and provide for the family while women are to stay home, cook, clean and take care of the children. While most people look at this and see nothing wrong with it, it causes challenges when women or men don’t want to conform to this ideal. Women might be challenged in what people call “a man’s world” when trying to promote or receive an equal salary. It’s not like this everywhere, but it has been a struggle in many many situations. Men are looked down upon if they are the partner who stays home to take care of the kids, clean house, and cook meals. It’s time to stop all the judgment and see each other as equal contributors in the family. Let other people decide what is best for them. Honor and respect their decisions.

It’s time to stop using phrases that show gender inequality – “you throw ball like a girl” and “a man probably designed this (referring to something not done right).” We say these things all the time, not thinking that we’re contributing to an inequality problem amongst genders. We need to stop sending the message that men are dumb and incapable of doing anything right, and women can’t do things are good as men can. This is wrong, but the messages are everywhere you look. Movies, t.v shows, even video games your kids are playing. See if you can spot it and call it out when you see it.

Teach children to be proud of their gender. Their gender was given to them by divine design and they should honor and respect that. Many people in the world are confused about their gender because of the messages they are receiving from the world. Teach your child to stand strong and be proud to be a man or a woman. We are each unique and special as such. One is not better than the other. While are challenges are different in many ways, one is not worse than the other. We all have difficulties we must go through in this life. Use it to make you a better, stronger, more courageous person in the world.

Teach your children to be respectful and kind to all people weather they identify as gay, lesbian or transgender. There is no room in this world for more hate. Teach them to love and respect everyone regardless of their choices and weather you agree with them or not.

Equality of rich and poor

In the bible, Jesus teaches us that it’s easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God (Matthew 19:24). What Jesus meant here was that pride and conceit which men became from their riches, would keep them out of the kingdom of god.

We see comparing amongst classes of people happen all the time. Children learn from a young age that it’s better to have lots of money than to be poor. But how do we know for sure it’s better? We think it’s better because money can provide a more easeful life and yes, we should teach out children to be self sufficient and provide for their families, but not at the cost of pride and conceit. Not at the cost of looking down on others because they’re struggling. It’s easy to say “if people just work hard, they can get out of their situations.” Some people are working 3 jobs just to put food on the table and a roof over their heads.

Teach your children not to judge others because of the amount of money in their bank account. Teach them to be generous and kind when they can be. To impart what they have to the poor without judgement. To give opportunities to others who need help. Teach them to help ease the burdens of the poor by offering to babysit when needed and make them a meal. Teach them and show them by example by volunteering once in a while at a soup kitchen, food bank, or a “feed my starving children” location.

How do we love people and see them as Christ does?

This is something we all should desire and pray for. To see others through Jesus’ eyes. How do we do this though? One tip I learned this week from a podcast I was listening to, is to picture that person as a baby just coming into the world. Precious, innocent, pure, sinless. How amazing does it feel to hold a brand new baby in your arms and look into their eyes. You literally see heaven. You can’t help but feel love. Picture others in this state. They are a son, or a daughter of someone who loves them, and especially a son or daughter of God. He loves them.

Whenever you have judgments, racism, or sexism clouding your thoughts, think of our divine creator and ask for a piece of his infinite love, to see another person as he see’s them. If you get that special opportunity (many people have), you’ll catch a glimpse of this person without any flaws. You’ll be able to see all that they are and all that they can become and you’ll be honored to be in their presence. What an incredible humbling experience you will have as the veil of judgement is stripped from your eyes. If even for a moment. But you must seek it. You must want it. You must ask for it.

Of all the skills you can teach your kids, teach them this ladder one. And never stop teaching them the golden rule “Treat others the way you want to be treated.”

Are you struggling with thoughts of racism, sexism or judgment? Is your child? It might be time to come on over and get coached by me. I can help you out. Schedule your 1:1 coaching session HERE

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