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How to Teach Our Kids to Have an Open Mind?

Posted by on Jul. 17, 2014 at 12:00 AM
  • 44 Replies

I live in NYC. It is, to say the least, a diverse city. On any subway ride, there could be at least five different languages spoken, a least a dozen different nationalities, and every generation is represented. Let's just say Kiddo has seen and heard a lot in her seven years as we travel about our city.

I remember one trip, when there was a lot to see. It was crowded. There were some teens coming home from school, a group of tourists visiting from Japan, many regular folks doing their daily commute. We got off the train and Kiddo said, "The train was packed today with lots of different people." I agreed and was about to say something about the time of day or something, when she added, "But we all take the train."

She found something similar to tie all of the various types of people together. That, they say, is the main way to teach your kids respect -- expose them to different situations and people and then find a commonality. Granted, I didn't do any sort of teaching that day as that was just my kid just chatting about what she observed.

But the experts say, when these moments arise in your world, jump on them and see what convos you can have. It helps our kids' minds to see not just differences, but similarities everywhere...which makes them more apt to approach someone with kindness and empathy in the future. Yeah, a muchmuch better teaching method than just reminding them to do so on the way out the door.

Kiddo's school has a motto (one of many): you don't have to treat everyone as a friend, but you must treat everyone with respect. This is huge, I think, and goes along with this whole chivalrous discussion. In this world, we aren't going to be friends with everyone. We may not like everyone, we may disagree and so on and so forth, and that is okay. But, we should treat everyone with a certain level of respect and expect the same from him or her.

Being open-minded, being aware of differences yet able to find a commonality, being respectful to those you may not even agree with? These traits will help our kids to be successful in school, in their jobs, in relationships...and, hopefully, make our world a little better too.

I'd love to hear what do you think -- share how you teach your kids to have an open mind! 

©iStockphoto.com/ Lambros Kazan          

by on Jul. 17, 2014 at 12:00 AM
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Replies (1-10):
mrswillie
by Silver Member on Jul. 17, 2014 at 7:31 AM
1 mom liked this
My family embraces diversity. My youngest Ds is gay. How can we expect people to accept him if we don't accept that they may have beliefs that differ?
TigerofMu
by Gold Member on Jul. 17, 2014 at 8:59 AM

We talk.  There are lots of people in our community with different lifestyles from ours, and we may not like what they are doing, but it isn't our place to judge them - and hopefully they feel the same about us...it is our place to treat all people with respect and dignity, and do our best to help our community to be a safe and great place to live.

Hannahsmommy816
by Silver Member on Jul. 17, 2014 at 9:17 AM

just being open and communicating to them, is a good start

Madelaine
by Bronze Member on Jul. 17, 2014 at 10:40 AM

Agreed.

Quoting mrswillie: My family embraces diversity. My youngest Ds is gay. How can we expect people to accept him if we don't accept that they may have beliefs that differ?


Madelaine
by Bronze Member on Jul. 17, 2014 at 10:40 AM

We lead by example and embrace diversity by being open minded and communicating with our kids.

othermom
by Gold Member on Jul. 17, 2014 at 10:43 AM

We talk about differences

sarahjz
by Silver Member on Jul. 17, 2014 at 11:30 AM

Like everything else that I am trying to teach them, I lead by example.

lil_mama06
by Member on Jul. 17, 2014 at 11:58 AM

I've told all my girls we all bleed the same,and we all put our pants on the same way...Our differences is what makes us special...My girls have alot of friends, some african american,hispanic,indian,gay,chinese...They are ALL people....

LaniBee
by Member on Jul. 17, 2014 at 12:07 PM

We embrace and accept everyone's differences.

johnny4ever
by Silver Member on Jul. 17, 2014 at 1:14 PM

I am more Open Minded my DH isn't.Our son needs to be aware of differences & always have respect.

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