Several studies have shown that the three common areas in which children will learn tolerance are in the home, school and media. As parents, we cannot control what happens at school or in the media. We can restrict their access to these things, but in the long run our children need to learn how to respect others inside your home.
According to Paula Green, Ph.D, "The globalization of trade and capital has also produced the globalization of humanity. We see so much more diversity now. The increasing diversity we see requires that we teach our children increasing tolerance to prepare them for the multi-cultural life of the 21st century, which is their century. If we don't, we're depriving them of the skills they need to be viable in their world."
We are not naturally born with stereotypes and prejudices against different cultures, we learn them from our elders and surroundings. We can teach our children that everyone is created equal and that we may all be different, but we need to be treated the same.
Two easy steps to take to promote tolerance within your household:
1. Be aware of your own stereotypes - if your family is constantly making jokes about other stereotypes, watches shows that poke fun of different cultures, or make remarks about the way others dress, talk and act then you are promoting prejudice and stereotyping to your children. You can't promote tolerance to your children if you or your spouse or not tolerant.
I, for one, agree that we must teach our children that on a constant basis, but I believe we also need to expose our children to different cultures early in life so they can grow up with an open mind about different cultures and traditions. The best way to expose our children to other cultures without sacrificing anyone's safety?
2. Host a foreign exchange student. Foreign exchange students are prime role models for younger children to look up to and learn how to appreciate differences in other culture's beliefs and traditions. While growing up, my family constantly opened up our home to international students and I know that has molded me into the person that I am today, respectful and appreciative of other's views. I can't stress how important hosting a foreign exchange student is. This will open the communication between two completely different cultures and in a way promote peace. We all know that other countries see Americans as stupid and close minded, but if we open our doors to the youth of those nations, we will see that they can promote America in a better light within their own country and start a domino effect. As well as, promoting the next generation of universal tolerance by opening up lines of communication between two countries and developing life long friendships. Read some success stories from students.
Together, foreign exchange students and ourselves, we can teach our children that we have an identity and that other identities are just as interesting and just as valuable. We can encourage our children to experience the positive aspects of diversity rather than a fear of diversity.
To learn more about hosting a foreign exchange student, please visit http://www.iseusa.com for more information