Hard ConversationsJan 8, 2018
Chapter 7 – Assertive CommunicationJan 8, 2018
A globalized world means that all of us will need to embrace diversity and learn how to navigate its challenges as they present themselves.
Many people feel nervous and are unsure as to how they should ask questions and have conversations about diversity. We are afraid that we may say the wrong things, which may hurt someone else or embarrass us. It sometimes feels easier and safer to avoid the whole issue.
At the same time, our identities are rightfully important to us and we can feel strongly about defending them. This can often lead us to becoming emotional about issues around gender, race, faith, culture or sexual orientation. We sometimes carry the idea that by listening to, or even accepting someone else’s beliefs, our beliefs are somehow made less true.
This is of course not true. We need to encourage children to be open to learning about diversity in a respectful, curious and caring way.
Make this safe for children by:
- Encouraging children to ask questions when they see people who are different to themselves (even if it’s embarrassing or awkward).
- Role model taking a respectful interest in diversity (ask questions, read books, search).
- Expose children to people who are different and talk about your similarities and differences.
- Don’t be afraid to have hard conversations about diversity – reinforcing the idea that listening is not accepting, and role modeling appropriate ways to manage and hold emotions, as well as to express opinions.
- Cutting out inappropriate language and gestures.
- Saying sorry when you make mistakes, and role modeling ways to make it better (apologizing, asking for forgiveness, finding ways to act better next time).
It is clear that we need to learn more about people who are different to ourselves and find useful ways to show respect and understanding for each other.