Tyler Clementi, student at Rutgers University, committed suicide after the online broadcast of a sexual encounter of him with a man. Students Dharun Ravi and Molly Wei have been charged with invasion of privacy. Clementi’s family says it hopes the tragedy will serve as a call for compassion.
We live in an increasingly diverse society. We need to teach our children to live, learn and work in communities that will be more diverse even than what we are used to. The kids who are more open to differences will have more opportunities than those who are not.
We need to teach our children to respect differences and to learn from others. That tolerance means treating others like you would like to be treated.
- Children watch and imitate their parents. The best way to teach your kids tolerance is to be tolerant yourself.
- Talk to your children openly and often about tolerance and respect.
- Give your kids opportunities to work and play with lots of different children with lots of different backgrounds.
- Purchase or check out from the library books, toys, music, art and videos that encourage tolerance.
- Point out any unfair stereotypes to your children and explain to them why they are so unfair.
- Answer your kids questions about differences honestly. It teaches them it is okay to talk about differences as long as it is done with respect.
- Help your children feel good about themselves. Kids who feel bad about themselves are most often the ones to make others feel bad.
At my son’s old pre-school he had a friend in his class who had two moms. He never even questioned it as being different because he had known the little girl since he was two. Let’s all do what we can to make sure that the generation of children we are raising now are much more tolerant, accepting, and compassionate than the generations before them.
- Tyler Clementi’s Suicide Resonates On Campus, Beyond (huffingtonpost.com)