Nine ways to confront bullying in the early grades.

It was a Wednesday. The afternoon was moving along as it typically does. My daughters and I sat down to eat a snack. I asked both of them, “Who did you each lunch with today, sweetie?” My older daughter looked at me and began to cry. Tears and a hug later were followed up by a question I had asked myself growing up. But the context was different and I had no one to answer. I asked the question because I was pushed and tripped. Hers was because she was told nobody likes her.

“Why am I bullied?”

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Child Sex…Trafficking?

Child sex traffickingSince our children were infants, we have always talked about human sexuality bluntly.  We refer to body parts using the anatomically correct name, we don’t hide or shame the early sexual curiosity, and babies do not come from storks.  Of course, at six years old when my oldest asked, “Daddy, I know babies grow inside their mommies belly and come out of their mommy’s vagina, but how do they get in there?” I turned flush red and surprised the children with the news that mommy was coming home with donuts.  I was very relieved that she forgot she asked the question…especially since that is very, very unusual.  She has not asked since…but when she does, I’m a little more prepared, because I know it is critical to talk about sex when children are young.  However, when she asked me about child sex trafficking, I was not prepared.

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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

Do all Muslim Women Wear Hijabs?

MalalaMy daughter’s favorite book for the past two months has been “For the right to learn: Malala Yousafzai’s story.” So it wasn’t all that surprising when, on our way to the grocery store this afternoon she asked, “Do all Muslim women have to wear a hijab?” Continue reading

Rights Versus Privileges, No Chipoltle!

I have the right to be a childI was at my favorite bookstore a couple weeks back when I was introduced to the book, “I have the right to be a child.”  This book is an amazing conversation starter…and awesome to reference right before a tantrum.  I now reference it more often than “Have you filled a bucket.”  It became particularly handy this afternoon when the children were begging to eat dinner at Chipotle. Continue reading

Why Do They Want to Build a Wall? Listen, and Speak Up!

First in a three part blog series on social justice by Dr. Andrew Goff…because #OurKidsAreListening.

Last January, my six-year-old daughter Addi and I were driving home from the grocery store when I encountered a new phase of my life as a father. I was busy thinking about dinner with public radio quietly playing in the background. Suddenly, she asked, “Why would they want to build a wall? Will we still be able to see Vito (great grandfather in Juarez, Mexico)?”

Pause five seconds…boarder? Wait, what?…I didn’t turn off the radio when the news came on!…deep breath in… “That’s a very good question sweetie, let’s talk about that as soon as we get home.”

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Why Do the Football Players Take a Knee?

Taking a kneeOn our way to school this morning my six-year-old asked me about taking a knee during the national anthem. Like all of our other conversation about SJ and E, it was amazing! This is the first have chosen to share, because they are always very personal and I do not want anyone to think that I believe I have the right answers. However, this particular conversation was is one I feel people need to think about long and hard. Continue reading