When Kids DiscriminateMeghan Gesswein
I try very hard to teach my children to be accepting of other people and other lifestyles. To this day, although I have to assume they’ve noticed a difference in skin tone, they have never used someone’s skin color to describe them to me.
I consider this a parenting victory.
My children! They are, in fact, colorblind! And not in the way that will hold them back from becoming pilots!
As they get bigger and start asking more questions, I will do my best to explain that it is okay if we don’t all look the same, believe the same things, or live our lives the same way.
They have always amazed me with their ability to see beyond people’s differences.
Until the other day when my 4 year old told me he doesn’t like “old people.”
It was out of the blue. We were in the parking lot of the grocery store and a disabled man in a wheel chair said “Hello!” and “Merry Christmas!”
Zachary said “Hello! Merry Christmas!” back to him as we walked passed him and towards the store.
I had been a little concerned that he would make an uncomfortable comment about the wheelchair, so I was relieved when he didn’t even seem to notice it. I then commended him on saying “Merry Christmas!” to the man.
To which he replied “I’m not shy around all people. I just don’t like old people.”
“I don’t like old people. I like almost everybody. Except old people.”
He couldn’t explain to me why he doesn’t like old people. And he clarified that his Grandmas and Grandpas don’t qualify as old. Yet.
But this makes me wonder what our weekend will be like when we spend it with my 95 year old Grandmother. Because I’m pretty sure she is the very definition of an old person. As in, if you look up “old person” in the dictionary, you’d see her picture.
I suppose I have some more work to do in teaching them to be accepting of others. I also need to figure out how to ensure that we don’t have a totally awkward Christmas with my family.