Tuesday, 17 February 2015

So Different...Yet the Same


I hate to think my boys are the only kids that ask cringe-worthy questions, and in public places too.

You know questions that make you feel like O.M.G...not so loud...and not here!

You ever been there?

Kids tend to exhibit their curious state anywhere and everywhere and God help you if you are close by without a ready answer, carefully thought out or not.

As parents, we may sometimes need/want to 'save face' and end up sacrificing having to rightly address their curiosity on the altar of embarrassment, particularly in public places and when the tide isn't exactly favorable.

The 'different' questions come often and if you are like me, you may have slammed the lid on their curiosity about differences and diversity by hushing them or at best telling them we are all the same, without elaborating further.

Kids are really just mini-adults with super sharp minds...more observant and detailed than adults, ...and very quick to pick out (and voice out) differences all around them.

Differences in their school bags, differences in their lunch packs, differences in shoes, differences in facial expressions, differences in appearance, differences everywhere.

Differences in color. How red differs from blue...yellow from green...black from white.

I wonder about colors...so do they.

They ask questions about colors and things they see or imagine.

D1 asks about a million questions per day. Okay, I exaggerate a little...nope, much...but he has a very inquisitive mind.

Why is that man walking with a stick?
Why is that woman sitting on the wheel chair?
Is her leg paining her?

Why is D2's tummy bigger than my own?
Are you thinking about your mother that died when her car somersaulted? (Out of the blues when I'm pensive)

Why do cats like fish? Why do the mouse like cheese?
Lion and tiger, are they the same?
Why is the lion called the king of the jungle?
The lion and tiger, which one is stronger?
Can a lion kill an elephant? 

Why can't God make cats like cheese and mouse like fish?
Are the Chibok girls not children of God?
Why do God allow people to die?

Why is it dark?
Why....
Why is it white?
Why is he white?

Like he asked out loud at the Supermarket when we stopped by to pick up groceries on our way from school yesterday evening.

"Mummy, that man is really white...is he a foreigner?" (He's currently having mid-term tests in school and the topic of 'foreigners' came up during Social Studies revision time)

And like the typical mum...hush...hush...shhhh

That's rude.
Or just plain curiosity.

We I tend to cloud their unassuming and harmless observations and questions with our my 'superior' judgement..sometimes.

I looked at 'me' and I looked at him...and at the 'foreigner' who thankfully was not paying attention to the little 6year old and his silly mum.

Would I allow him bear the weight of 'shhhhed' unanswered questions just to avoid 'embarrassment'?
Would I allow him form his own opinions without guidance?
What's a parent to do...every time?

Worse still...would I rather these boys move away from anyone perceived to be different from them?

Different in appearance, skin color...religion...opinions...etc?

I think of the men I want these boys to grow into...men that hold the hand of the lonely...men that speak out against ills...men that wouldn't allow color color their perceptions (pun intended)...men that positively impact their generation...men that embraces all regardless of religious inclinations or social standing...regardless of color of skin or hair...regardless of physical differences ...regardless of educational differences and I think of the mother I need to be...

...a mother that patiently encourages questions and stimulates their inquisitive hearts by answering all questions as truthfully as she could. (hand on chest...God help me)
 If your child has questions about differences in physical characteristics or cultural practices, discuss them openly. This teaches your child that it’s okay to notice differences, and more importantly, it teaches him that it’s good to talk about them. Learning to appreciate all kinds of differences—not just racial and cultural but differences in socioeconomic levels, gender, and even disabilities is an important skill in today’s diverse society. - See more at: http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/parenting/school-age/10-ways-to-teach-kids-about-diversity#sthash.Yp9gcN4T.dpuf
...a mother who encourages questions about physical or cultural differences and openly discusses them.
...a mother who teaches her kids it's okay to observe differences and loudly or quietly ask about them.
...a mother who teaches her children to appreciate all kinds of differences -be it cultural, racial, educational, gender, social, economic and even disabilities.

"mummy, I.B too is white in my class"

"I.B is not white, just lighter than you in complexion" 
"Ok".
"Does he eat in class like you?"
"Yes, mum"
"He's your friend, isn't he?"
"Yes".

"See, I.B is not really different...he does everything you do".

"See...that man too is buying bread and we are also here to buy Semolina (and beverages)" (Of course, delivered 'hush-hushly')

"So he goes hungry and eats like us"

Although we look different, we are really all the same, my boy...created by the same God.
We are all the same...yet different, with or without the same skin color....with the same color of blood flowing in us.

He's white, we are darker.
We are different yet the same...same on the inside, driven by the same hunger - goals and aspirations.
We can join hands and dance the 'victors' dance and sing...'cos we have the same features, same capabilities...

Different does not equate ugly...different does not equate bad.
Same is good...different is great.

So our dear 'different' friends, be kind enough not to cringe when a certain 6year old wonders aloud and also please permit his silly mum ramble through the truth of our diversity.


(Definitely going to use the eggs to drive it home further...in the morning)


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15 Comments:

At 18/02/2015, 03:13 , Blogger Scrappy quilter said...

Awe such a great post. Kids are kids and out of the mouths of babes always surprises me with their curiosity and their questions.

 
At 18/02/2015, 14:36 , Blogger Dee said...

Bravo... What a beautiful post. I think it's great that you're using the brown and white eggs to teach diversity. It's too bad that more parent's aren't like you because we are all God's children.

By the way, I saw your comment on Scrappy quliter's blog and I wanted to pop on over and say, hi. I'm glad I did because I enjoyed the visit. Have a great rest of the week... :)

 
At 18/02/2015, 15:52 , Blogger Nitty-Gritty said...

I like the egg analogy, it captured your words well with the picture. Different in colour, culture, and language but have the same emotuons / feelings.

Kids! Don't they say and ask the darnest things? Ahahaha. There are times I give them 'my keep quiet look' when am at my wits end! Sometimes, I tell them Google it o jare! Sometimes when I want to be a tease, I say, OK, let's go and ask the person nau! Ahahha. Knowing the right thing to say at the right time to a child so as to have the positive impact is the worry of all parents, but I have simply learnt to take a day at a time and answer any question to the best of my ability.

A well thought out and enjoyable post Abiola. Well done.
Nitty.
www.thenitty-gritty. com

 
At 18/02/2015, 15:52 , Blogger Nitty-Gritty said...

I like the egg analogy, it captured your words well with the picture. Different in colour, culture, and language but have the same emotuons / feelings.

Kids! Don't they say and ask the darnest things? Ahahaha. There are times I give them 'my keep quiet look' when am at my wits end! Sometimes, I tell them Google it o jare! Sometimes when I want to be a tease, I say, OK, let's go and ask the person nau! Ahahha. Knowing the right thing to say at the right time to a child so as to have the positive impact is the worry of all parents, but I have simply learnt to take a day at a time and answer any question to the best of my ability.

A well thought out and enjoyable post Abiola. Well done.
Nitty.
www.thenitty-gritty. com

 
At 18/02/2015, 23:00 , Blogger Sarah Haney said...

Great post! My little ones ask a lot of questions too, and I'm learning to not overreact to them as much. I used to tell them to stop but I'm trying to be more bold myself and speak up rather than hushing them. Questions are good and they are opportunities, at least that's what I remind myself when embarrassed. :)

 
At 20/02/2015, 04:04 , Blogger Stephanie said...

What a great post, my friend! You have given us a lot of food for thought {pun not intended} :) I love the use of the two different eggs....yes, we are all the same inside :)

Thank you so much for sharing at ROI. Hugs to you, my dear!

 
At 20/02/2015, 13:11 , Blogger Abiola Olaleye said...

Thank you, Scrappy quilter.

They sometimes throw me off-balance with their questions but we are dealing with it, one question at a time.

 
At 20/02/2015, 13:33 , Blogger Abiola Olaleye said...

Thanks, Dee. I'm mighty pleased you visited and liked the post.

Using eggs is the best way to drive home the point, for me...for now...until they are old enough to understand better.

Hugs,

 
At 20/02/2015, 13:37 , Blogger Abiola Olaleye said...

Thanks, sis.

They really do...sometimes the questions pop from nowhere and I wonder what goes on in their little minds. Google sha...I can't laugh...
You know sometimes when I'm stuck, I try to go 'off-topic' by distracting them to enable me think of the best answer to give them (later)...

 
At 20/02/2015, 13:40 , Blogger Abiola Olaleye said...

Thanks, dear Sarah.

If we stop them asking questions, they'll look elsewhere for the answers and may end up getting it wrong. Good that you're encouraging them to speak up too, we all learn on this journey.

Questions are really opportunities...lolling @ being embarrassed, it's allowed, sis.

Hugs,

 
At 20/02/2015, 13:41 , Blogger Abiola Olaleye said...

Thanks, dear Stephanie.
We really are the same on the inside..

Hope to be around next week too...ROI is such a lovely place to connect.

 
At 20/02/2015, 15:36 , Blogger Brittany Mayfield said...

Beautifully said my friend!! You hit the nail on the head in every area. As parents we often try to impose our "adult" way of thinking on our children, but the workings of a child's mind is one of the most beautiful gifts. Children are curious, and have no filter, they are honest and geniuine. I often times think that our "mature" way of thinking and behaving as adults is actually much more stifling. Thanks for sharing!! Stopping by from #shinebloghop

 
At 20/02/2015, 21:25 , Blogger Thecla Ojeifo said...

I really love the different shades of egg analogy! We really are all the same on the inside. You are doing a mighty good job sis. Keep it up.
I love how you make every effort to answer them. As parents we sometimes get embarrassed by all our kids plenty questions but start to panic when they get older and stop asking us questions. lol. Embarrassing or not we should at least try to help them detangle all the plenty plenty questions in their curious little minds.
Hugs sis.
Favoured woman.

 
At 20/02/2015, 23:00 , Blogger Abiola Olaleye said...

Glad to have you here, Brittany.

I learn a lot from these children, daily as the workings of their minds never cease to amaze me. They truly have no filter, saying it like it is...innocently. It's a gift to work and walk with them on this journey.

 
At 20/02/2015, 23:03 , Blogger Abiola Olaleye said...

Hey...dear Thecla, glad you visited.
You can (write) say that again, sis. It's a huge task which requires patience.

I'm off to your 'abode' now, been quiet for a while.

 

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