I was walking on the grounds of one of our elementary schools this week, came across this line of trees and was in utter awe.
It struck me like a ton of bricks…diversity is beautiful. We are intrinsically drawn to variation. We may think that sameness is great, until we are presented with the possibilities of diversity and can appreciate the depth of our desire for diversity.
Not convinced? Look at how we crave diversity in our lives.
Any one of these flavors would be delicious to us, but not if we were constantly limited to the same thing. If all we had to eat in our diet were Reese’s cups we might actually (gulp) develop an aversion to them!
Would you have been happy as a kid using the same crayon or paint color-even if it was your favorite? I mean, how many of us begged our parents for the most giganticus box of Crayolas? We tried hard to convince them that diversity was important to us.
If you have ever tried to arrange a bouquet or plan a garden, you can truly appreciate how diversity adds beauty and harmony to the design element. They bloom at different times, they give shape and texture to the ensemble, they complement each other in ways that bring out the best in each flower.
We desire a diversity in the selection of tools we accumulate. We realize there is no one superior tool, they all bring a unique utility and application to meet our diverse needs.Sure we love hammers, but if that’s the only tool we have, everything is going to start looking like a nail to us.
I live in Maine. The diversity of seasons offers us a variety of experiences and opportunities that people who live in the Arctic or the Bahamas may never enjoy. Sure, I have my favorites, but I also find deep pleasure in the experience of each.
Scientists and philosophers address the importance of diversity.
Nature thrives with diversity.
Our children embrace diversity…
until they learn otherwise.
We can’t truly teach acceptance and diversity if we don’t honestly believe that it is important for our quality of life, our sense of community, and even for our survival. From a cellular level on up- we depend upon diversity to thrive and survive. It isn’t until we learn from others to disregard or disavow the importance of diversity that it becomes a political or moral issue. I hope as teachers we can counter the messages (subtle and overt) that paint diversity into a “politically correct” corner. (And lately those messages are ramped up bigly). Look into the faces of the children in your classroom and picture the world you want them to grow up in.
Be the change!
What’s On My Book Radar?
As Brave as You by Jason Reynolds
I love this story on so many levels, but in terms of diversity, it is a perfect book. Kids often get the message that diversity is a condition to overcome! When disability, race, gender, or sexual identity is the central “problem” to the story, rather than just “who we are”, it reinforces the otherness that separates us rather than the common experiences that unite us. The windows and mirrors should be a connector, not a barrier. This story does that.
Genie and his brother, Ernie, are sent to their grandparent’s home while their parents take a trip to Jamaica in an attempt to salvage their troubled marriage. Grandpop is blind, but full of surprises that the boys discover as they get to know a man who estranged from his own son (their father). Jason Reynolds knows how to create complex characters that will stay with you, long after the pages close on their story.