Diversity of Families

Welcome to the July 2013 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Learning About Diversity

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared how they teach their children to embrace and respect the variety of people and cultures that surround us. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

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When I was thinking about this month’s topic – diversity – I’ll admit that I was challenged. I could talk about the diverse food that we get to enjoy as a perk of living in Toronto – like the fact that Silas regularly eats Indian, Thai, and Ethiopian, but I think it falls more under the category of privilege (we’re lucky to live in an awesome city and a country with better immigration policies) rather then diversity. Instead I want to write about something both less and more personal – the diversity of families.

Jason and I are a cisgender heterosexual couple. In and of ourselves, we’re not very diverse. Things become more interesting for us when we expand our view of family to our parents. Jason immigrated to Canada to be with me, so his family is in Ohio. As a result, we don’t see them as often as we’d like (although I think we finally have a routine down to see them regularly). As for me, well, even though I live in the same city as my family we’re estranged (my mom hasn’t even met our son and he’s nine months old!).

For us this has meant that we’re raising Silas mostly on our own, with no real back up or help. We’ve been lucky that he’s so easy going as I’m not sure how I would have coped otherwise!

And that’s where diversity in what a family can be, what the idea of a family is, comes into play.

Even though our own families aren’t as involved, either by distance or choice, Silas still has a huge family network care of the Knit Cafe and other friends here in Toronto. I’ve been attending the KC’s weekly Stitch ‘n Bitch for several years and have met one of the most supportive group of ladies ever.

For me, these women are my family. They are kind, thoughtful, supportive, and loving. If I need a break or a hug, I’ll walk over and someone will cuddle and fuss over Silas while I have a cup of tea.

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These are women who will come babysit a sick child for a morning so that I can still make it to the gym. Or who will fix the elastics and velcro on our cloth diapers even though it’s a miserable job (thank you!). Or who buy the little man a Christmas present just because they want to. Or who welcome us into their homes for holidays. Or who come hang out to provide company and moral support.

These are women who are friends, mentors, and like family to me. They are Aunts and Grandmas in our diverse family. We haven’t gotten to that stage where we have to explain the difference between blood and non-blood relatives, but Silas and I are so very blessed to have Grandma Jackie (Jason’s mom), Grandma Anne, Aunt Kerri (Jason’s sister), Aunt Maurie, Aunt Ellen, Aunt Robbie, Aunt Iwona, Aunt Heather, Aunt Carol, and others in our lives. Also a shout out to Aunt Caroline (our roommate), Grandma Hedi (our roommate’s mom), Aunt Laura & Uncle Robot, Uncle Badur, and the rest of our friends.

Families aren’t just blood. They are the people that you choose to have in your life. They are the people who support and love you. They are the people who make you a better person. They are the people who are there for you when you need a hand or a hug (or a pedicure).

I’m so very grateful for our large family and for the fact that Silas has 3 Grandmas!

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CNPnaturalparent Diversity of FamiliesVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(This list will be updated by afternoon July 9 with all the carnival links.)

  • A gift for my daugther — Amanda, a special education teacher for students with multiple exceptionalities, discusses at My Life in a Nutshell how she will enrich her daughter’s life by educating her the amazing gifts her students will bring to the world.
  • The Beauty in Our Differences — Meegs at A New Day writes about her discussions with her daughter about how accepting ourselves and those around us, with all our beautiful differences and similarities, makes the world a better place.
  • Accepting Acceptance and Tolerating Tolerance — Destany at They Are All of Me examines the origins of and reasons behind present day social conformity.
  • Differencessustainablemum discusses what she feels to be the important skills for embracing diversity in her family home.
  • Turning Japanese — Erin Yuki at And Now, for Something Completely Different shares how she teaches her kiddos about Japanese culture, and offers ideas about “semi immersion” language learning.
  • Celebrating Diversity at the International House Cottages — Mommy at Playing for Peace discovers the cultures of the world with her family at local cultural festivals
  • Learning About Diversity by Honoring Your Child’s Multiple Heritages — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama looks at the importance of truly knowing your roots and heritage and how to help children honor their multiple heritages.
  • People. PEOPLE! — Kellie at Our Mindful Life is trying to teach her children to use language that reflects respect for others, even when their language doesn’t seem to them to be disrespectful.
  • Call Me Clarice, I Don’t Care – A True Message in Diversity — Lisa at The Squishable Baby knows that learning to understand others produces empathetic children and empathetic families.
  • Diversity of Families — Family can be much more then a blood relation. Jana at Jananas on why friends are so important for her little family of three.
  • Diverse Thoughts Tamed by Mutual Respect — Amy at Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work thinks that diversity is indispensable to our vitality, but that all of our many differences require a different sort of perspective, one led by compassion and mutual respect.
  • Just Shut Up! — At Old New Legacy, Becky gives a few poignant examples in her life when listening, communication and friendship have helped her become more accepting of diversity.
  • The World is our Oyster — Mercedes at Project Procrastinot is thankful for the experiences that an expat lifestyle will provide for herself as well as for her children.
  • Children’s black & white views (no pun intended … kind of) — Lauren at Hobo Mama wonders how to guide her kids past a childish me vs. them view of the world without shutting down useful conversation.
  • Raising White Kids in a Multicultural World — Leanna at All Done Monkey offers her two cents on how to raise white children to be self-confident, contributing members of a colorful world. Unity in diversity, anyone?
  • Ramadan Star and Moon Craft — Celebrate Ramadan with this star and moon craft from Stephanie at InCultureParent, made out of recycled materials, including your kid’s art!
  • Race Matters: Discussing History, Discrimination, and Prejudice with Children — At Living Peacefully with Children, Mandy discusses how her family deals with the discrimination against others and how she and her husband are raising children who are making a difference.
  • The Difference is Me – Living as the Rainbow Generation — Terri at Child of the Nature Isle, guest posting at Natural Parents Network, is used to being the odd-one-out, but walking an alternative path with children means digging deeper, answering lots of questions and opening to more love.
  • My daughter will only know same-sex marriage as normal — Doña at Nurtured Mama realizes that the recent Supreme Court rulings on same-sex marriage will change the way she talks to her daughter about her own past.
  • Montessori-Inspired Respect for Diversity — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now tells about her multicultural family and shares Montessori-inspired ideas for encouraging respect for diversity.
  • EveryDay Diversity — Ana at Panda & Ananaso makes diversity a part of everyday living, focusing on raising of compassionate and respectful child.
  • Diversity as Part of Life — Even though Laura at Authentic Parenting thought she had diversity covered, she found out that some things are hard to control.
  • Inequity and Privilege — Jona is unpacking questions raised by a summit addressing inequity in breastfeeding support at Life, Intertwined.
  • 3 Ways to Teach Young Children About Diversity — Charise at I Thought I Knew Mama recognizes her family’s place of privilege and shares how she is teaching her little ones about diversity in their suburban community.
  • Teaching diversity: tales from public school — A former public high school teacher and current public school parent, Jessica at Crunchy-Chewy Mama values living in a diverse community.
  • 30 Ideas to Encourage Learning about Diversity While Traveling — Traveling with kids can bring any subject alive. Dionna at Code Name: Mama has come up with a variety of ways you can incorporate diversity education into your family travels (regardless of whether you homeschool). From couch surfing to transformative reading, celebrate diversity on your next trip!
  • Diversity, huh? — Jorje of Momma Jorje doesn’t do anything BIG to teach about diversity; it’s more about the little things.
  • Chosen and Loved — From Laura at Pug in the Kitchen: Color doesn’t matter. Ethnicity doesn’t matter. Love matters.
  • The One With The Bright Skin — Stefanie at Very Very Fine tries to recover from a graceless response to her son’s apparent prejudice.

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07.09.2013    9 Comments    babies, jana, raves