Explaining “Normal” to a Seven Year Old

Separate is never equalA few months back, after reading the book Separate is Never Equal, my daughter, Addi asked me:

“Daddy, why are the white people so rude to Sylvia’s family?”

My initial thought was, “that’s an easy one.  We’ve talked about racism and discrimination so many times.  I can reference back to many of our previous conversations.”  However, the answer that came out of my mouth was a little more nuanced than usual. “Because Sylvia’s family does not like what is normal for their school district.”

As I moved throughout the rest of my evening, and for several months to follow, I asked myself, “what is normal?” My goal was to advance Addi and my conversations about prejudice, discrimination and inclusion as well as develop a better understanding of the social world she/we live in?

What unfolded over time was the creation of the Cycle of Normal…and a daughter who is more aware of prejudice and discrimination.

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When Your Child Discovers Derogatory Words

Child cussingMy daughter discovered a new weapon in her arsenal of language.  Sister, you’re an idiot!  Daddy, don’t be an idiot! Mommy’s an idiot!

Several years back, a good friend of mine introduced me to the terms “teeth and claws words.”  These are the words that can hurt people.  That worked great until my daughter began hearing cuss words tossed around on the school playground this year. Continue reading