The image this week I'd want you to consider is that of walls and bridges. Walls are easier to build than bridges. That's true physically and emotionally. It takes more time and energy to build a wall around ourselves than it does to build bridges to other people. Added to that fact we naturally build bridges to people who more like ourselves. That means we have to go out of our way to build bridges to those who are different.
It may literally be impossible to totally eliminate our prejudices, racial or any otherwise, but we can lessen it. Research with children shows they naturally gravitate towards others who are like them. As parents, if we want our children to grow up with less prejudice towards others, we have to actively work at it. We begin, as usual, by modeling this behavior and continue by encouraging our children to examine their own actions.
Long ago when the world was mostly warring tribes, prejudice was formed by a healthy suspicion of others. It could save your life. But today, at least in this country, we are not warring tribes. Prejudice can limit our desire and ability to work well with others, and working with others is one of the most important skills we bring to work with us. More people are fired for failure to get along with coworkers than for a lack of knowledge of their job. So let's all practice our people skills and encourage our children to work on theirs too.
It takes more time and energy to build bridges, not walls. Reach out and form relationships with others who are different.
Blessings on your parenting,
Tim Miesner, Principal