The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]


We Are All The Same. We Are All Different.

So for the past 2 days I’ve been writing a lot about equality.

It’s a subject very close to my heart.

To be honest, it always has been but being a Father has raised it’s importance.

In some ways, having Otis grow up in China made things easier as it meant he was exposed to different cultures from day 1 but I didn’t want to take that for granted, so when we knew we were going to move to the US, I spoke to a friend of mine – a Brit, who is black and lives in the US – about the [thankfully small] issues his kids faced being in the US and what he thought parents should teach their kids to stop that happening.

His response was phenomenal.

In essence there were 2 parts.

The first was the obvious one – treat every person from every culture the same way – with respect, appreciation and consideration.

So far so good … but it was the next bit that really made an impact.

Don’t tell Otis different cultures are all the same.

Don’t ‘whitewash’ our differences, acknowledge them … enrich Otis with understanding about different cultures history, struggles and values.

Or said another way … celebrate the differences but treat everyone the same.

Brilliant.

Absolutely brilliant.

In a World where so much hate is built simply on ‘being different’, helping break down those walls through knowledge and understanding is even more powerful than just saying ‘don’t see the colour, see the person’.

Of course it’s vital to treat people the same, but understanding the background isn’t just a mark of respect – it’s a way to celebrate strengths and understand behaviours that you may otherwise judge for no other reason than your own in-built prejudices.

So among Otis’ books on animals and dinosaurs and Peppa fucking Pig, he has books that explore the cultures associated with Africa [‘Africa Is Not A Country’ & ‘Sundiata’], Mexico [‘Tequila Worm’] and the Middle East [‘My Fathers Shop’].

Now I appreciate some people may think we are going a bit over-the-top with this.

After all, Otis is only 2 and a half.

But, as I have written before, I’ve learnt not to care what others think.

I’ve learnt people often mistake being a parent with being an ‘expert’ on kids.

I’ve also learnt kids develop so many of their behaviours by being masters of mimicking how their parents behave.

[Jill hopes she can stop him fall victim to ironic t-shirts and Birkenstocks]

At the end of the day, we believe we have a responsibility to him – and society as a whole – to encourage the values and beliefs that can enable him to be a good human being … someone who doesn’t just contribute to society in terms of what he achieves, but in terms of what he helps others achieve.

Of course we know he will face challenges.

Peer pressure. Unexpected circumstances. The allure of mischief.

And while we can’t dictate how he handles those things, we hope we can prepare him to deal with them in a way where he can hold his head high … which is why on top of being loving, supporting parents, we will buy him books on understanding different cultures, give him dolls to play with and encourage him to play with his beloved pink kitchen.

Being a Father is one of the most amazing things that has happened in my life.

I feel embarrassed to admit I had no idea how good it would be … and while being a good parent is basically a matter of trying things with good intent, I want to say a big thank you to Karrelle Dixon … because he may not realise it, but he made a big difference to how my little boy will grow up. Not in terms of respect, but in terms of understanding … and when you think about it, that’s one of the most wonderful gifts you can give anyone.

I hope my parents would think we’re doing good with their grandson.

I think they would.

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17 Comments so far
Leave a comment

OK, I have to put my hands up and say that’s cool parenting.

Comment by DH

I’m going to credit it all to Jill because crediting you even a little will blow my mind.

Comment by DH

Very good. You will be giving him a slim book about the culture of Nottingham won’t you?

Comment by John

thats a police wanted poster.

Comment by andy@cynic

It’s a pamphlet.

Comment by Rob

if youd given me a million fucking guesses i would never of put you as the leader of new age fucking parenting.

Comment by andy@cynic

I know. But then I do wear Birkenstocks.

Comment by Rob

im only buying those fucking books.
youve fucking influenced me to buy something for my kid. ive fucking lost it. kill me.

Comment by andy@cynic

What brilliant advice and parenting. 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻

Comment by Mary Bryant

I don’t know what to say except that’s amazing.

Comment by Bazza

This is a beautiful way to raise a child. I hope you have a great parenting experience!

Comment by adreamy1

That advice justifies this decision.

http://tinyurl.com/y9agwckc

Comment by George

Bravo.

Comment by Katerina

What a great story. If more parents were like you, we might have a planet that has less tension than it does today.

Comment by Wayne Green

Yes Robert. Yes.

Comment by Jonathan Rosenberg

[…] in a we need to give everyone a chance sort-of way, but in a ‘everyone is equal even when we’re different’ sort-of […]

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