The year 2020 has, to say the least, been one loaded with changes and most of them not exactly positive. Adults have been struggling to cope with all that has happened, so how can we expect our children to comprehend or understand things that the adults in their lives are having difficulty with them.
We just got a slight grip on the Coronavirus and all that has brought into our lives, but now we are dealing with the unnecessary and violent death of a man who was a son, a brother and a father himself. A man whose death has struck the final cord in so many people’s lives and are now standing up for what is wrong and what needs to be done to make it right.
In order for people to do this, they must carry out protests to make sure their voices are finally heard. Unfortunately, as with so many things, there are those who take it too far, by rioting and looting and you may be asking why am I even talking about this, and the reason is, once again, our children are seeing and hearing things that children are not supposed to be in their young lives.
Our children, from the very young to those who just had graduation that they couldn’t have dreamed would have happened, are right in the middle trying to understand why just when they might get to start doing some normal things in the summer like swimming and playing with their friends. Our children are now seeing and hearing things like death, violence, and any other things associated with this tragedy. And once again, we as parents and the teachers of our own children, we have to try to explain to them what is going on, without overwhelming them, yet helping them to deal with all of it. Some may say that their children don’t’ know what is going on. Don’t kid yourselves, even if you think you are making sure they don’t know, they will, because it is all around them and they do hear and even if they don’t watch the news, they have access to the internet and it is there, everywhere.
I debated about writing about this, because the last thing in the world I wouldn’t want to do, is to offend anyone, but I think we need to educate to help our children understand. My students knew how I felt about prejudice and choosing to treat others wrongly because of the color of their skin and any other way of making someone feel bad about themselves. I brought my boys up telling them, that there was no color in people, that they were to treat everyone the same, but now I see that really wasn’t good enough, there should have been a better way for them to know how very wrong it is to treat others in a way that hurts and offends them.
Thanks to a teacher and friend of mine, I have a list of books that can help you teach your children as they learn how important this is:
The Adventures of Little Miss Crazy Hair: The Girl with Curl by Christopher Garcia-Halenar, Alejandro Garcia-Halenar
Hair Like Mine (Kids Like Mine) by LaTashia M. Perry
Keena Ford and the Second-Grade Mix-Up by Melissa Thomson
Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History (Vashti Harrison) by Vashti Harrison
Day Dreams and Movie Screens (Faithgirlz / Lena in the Spotlight) by Alena Pitts, Wynter Pitts
Shining Night (Faithgirlz / Lena in the Spotlight) by Alena Pitts, Wynter Pitts
President of the Whole Fifth Grade (President Series (1) by Sherri Winston
Emi’s Curly Coily, Cotton Candy Hair by Tina Olajid
Natalie’s Hair Was Wild! by Laura Freeman
Dream Big, Little One by Vashti Harrison
Chocolate Me! by Taye Diggs, Shane W. Evans
I Am Enough by Grace Byers, Keturah A. Bobo
ABC I Love Me by Miriam Muhammad
*And a book I’ve been hearing about for us adults: So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo (Author)
There are more books and I will list them next week and maybe some more ideas on how to teach our children to do right by each other and maybe even how to cope with all that is happening in their world right now. I wish I had these books when my boys were growing up. My friend has posted on her Facebook a powerful quote from Nelson Mandela: “It is in your hands to create a better world for all who live in it.” What a wonderful thing we can use to teach our children and others just that.
I realize that this is not what I normally put in for my education column, but I have felt so strongly about what is going on and my heart goes out to this man’s family and not just them, to all the people who have been suffering year after year and are finally letting their voices be heard. And finally, I want our children to live in a different world where all people are treated fairly. That is one of the most important things we can teach them.
I can’t wait to keep looking and getting ideas from my friends, and if you have something, you have done or seen that your kids enjoy doing. My column this summer will be full of funfilled activities to do both inside and out. You don’t want to miss out. Keep in mind. I try to do my best to find things that are not a ton of work for you. Summer is here, let the fun begin, you’ve worked hard to get here. Enjoy.
Let me know any ideas you have or what you would like to see and I’ll get right on it for you. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Reach Kimberly Jenkins (740)353-3101 ext. 1928
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