Monday, July 09, 2007

A lesson in tolerance

Roman said the oddest thing tonight, but it was very touching. My guess is that he is learning about accepting "different" people at Red Bell, but it was amazing nonetheless.

He had been playing Lego Star Wars with his Daddy, and they can choose to be different characters. He also had been looking at his book with all the different characters. Roman out of the blue said, "Know what? The weird people in Star Wars are just people... they're not weird, they are people." We agreed and Doug said that it was really good of Roman to realize that. Then Roman kept going... "Even though they look weird, they are not, because they are people. And we don't have to understand... you just click on them anyway." He said this while crossing his little arms on the table and resting his chin on his arm. And for a 4 year old it was so profound, it brought tears to my eyes.

Now, I don't want to give Red Bell all the credit - a pat on our own backs because we're trying really hard to not identify people by how they look, even down to fat or skinny. We will talk about their clothes ("the girl in the green dress") or where they were standing, or what they said. And one time, when we did described an African-American girl's skin as "dark," Roman held up his arm and asked so innocently, "darker than mine?" Proof that children learn every little bit of their prejudices.

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