Starting the Diversity Dialogue with our Littles

At this past weekend’s Mindful Littles diversity event, we gathered as  a community of families to talk about diversity and celebrate what makes each of our families special.   By amazing coincidence, our event happened to fall on World’s Cultural Diversity Day.  This day was started after the September 11th attacks, and the United Nations designated May 21st as Diversity Day in order to advocate for more dialogue on the topic of cultural diversity.

If I step back to think about the intention of our Mindful Littles diversity event, it is about dialogue- to help inspire conversations with our children about why diversity is so important.  And perhaps through our event, we can help spark curiosity in our littles to learn about each other’s differences, to start recognizing that the world is a massive place with billions of individuals – all unique and special, and to start asking questions- the ones that may not always be so easy or comfortable for us parents to answer.

In my own parenting journey, when my older daughter has asked the tough questions- about why her daddy and I have different colored skin, about why some friends have two mommies and no daddy, or why certain people are in wheelchairs- I haven’t always been sure of how to best answer these questions or what is even the right way to start.  But I think stumbling through the responses is natural, as long as we embrace our children’s questions openly, as long as we model in our daily lives what it means to respect differences and similarities, and as long as we teach our children that at the end of the day we are all human.

Our Diversity Quilt- by Ninon Shesgreen

And this ‘humanness’ that unites us all is something we can so easily forget.  The Mindful Littles diversity event was inspired by a #WeeklyKindnessProject that my daughter and I did after last year’s presidential election- when it seemed like our country was greatly divided, when groups of people were being ostracized for their religions, their race, their political beliefs.  My daughter and I made a card of the American flag, but instead of 50 stars, we made 50 hearts- each cut out in different sizes and shapes.  We called the card, “Different Hearts, United as One.”  Now during our Mindful Littles diversity event, we are converting this card into a quilt with the generosity and help of an incredibly talented friend, Ninon Shesgreen of Vagabond Ruth.  Each family that attends our diversity event can contribute their own unique heart patch, and each heart patch will be weaved into a beautiful quilt that represents our flag.

We hope that through our diversity event, our littles learn something new about the different people of our great planet.  We hope that we inspire families to have conversation starters and open dialogue about diversity.  And we hope that once the quilt is complete and featured in our local library and 4th of July parade, that our littles can see that while there are so many “different hearts” in our community, we can all be “united as one.”

If you are interested in joining the next Mindful Littles diversity event, you can register here: Celebrating Diversity: A Community Quilt Project.