Promoting diversity, equity and socially positive spaces is near and dear to our hearts at The Wise Family. Let’s first focus on the definitions:
Talking openly and positively about differences can help children better understand themselves and those around them. Here are some more tips from our Wise Team members on how you, as a parent, can promote socially positive spaces with littles, middles and bigs.
The hope for building supportive communities for diversity, equity, and socially positive spaces seems immediately challenged by the reality of the three adjectives (diversity, equity, socially positive) used to describe those spaces. Diversity and equity are those buzz words that are currently the topic of conversations in almost every conceivable space. Workplaces, schools, churches, healthcare arenas, etc. Those two words seem to automatically create a space of tension. They seem to be words that require some type of fight or justification for why they are important. They are usually applied to situations where some group(s) has/have not been given the same considerations as others. This is where the creation of any space, socially positive or otherwise, must begin. It begins with understanding. It begins with listening. It begins with the opening of minds and hearts to be accepting of things not so easily agreed upon or understood. It begins with an agreement to work together to create something not so easily defined or understood.
Communities are collections of variety and differences that exist in collaboration with each other. Building the types of communities that are described as supportive is very possible if the focus remains on the needs of that community and what that community feels is important to them. When commitment is made to do the work to successfully build equitable and diverse communities, socially positive spaces are created.
I have been humbled time and time again through my work with children and teens because of their constant search for answers. Answers about who they are and how they fit into the world. I’ve come to learn that, at the root of these questions, there is always the same fundamental desire: “I just want to be loved and accepted for who I am.”
It is always apparent when the youth I work with come from homes and communities where they feel their identities are supported and cherished. These youth almost wear an invisible suit of armor. They know that, at the end of our 50 minutes together, they are leaving my office and returning to homes and communities that lift them up. It is also equally apparent when they exist in communities that don’t. These individuals are scared, lonely, and feel unheard and unwanted because they don’t fit into the molds that they have grown up being told they have to fit into.
As a collective, our hearts ache for this latter group of youth. But this heartache only goes so far. We have to ask ourselves: how are we going to be PROACTIVE in creating spaces for ALL HUMANS, so that no one ever has to go through life feeling the pain of not knowing if they are accepted as they are. As adults, we must do the uncomfortable work of looking inward and acknowledging our unconscious biases, the messages engrained within us about who is a person “of worth,” and then make daily, conscious decisions to act different.
In parenting our children, however, we have the opportunity to contribute to a positive societal shift of raising a more accepted and accepting generation. And these two go hand-in-hand. When we raise children to be accepting of others’ differences, we are communicating that they are ALSO supported for their own differences. And when we raise children who feel secure, loved, and accepted for their true selves, they may be more likely to uplift others in similar ways.
Until next time, Be Wise!
“Oh my gosh, my daughter just thinks Grace is amazing and I am so glad that she has someone to talk to that isn’t me! She is so happy after her sessions! Thank you.”— Mom of 15 year old client
“We read through your website from start to finish and were so impressed by your extensive credentials and training but, the real reason why we want to work with you is your clear enthusiasm for children and families and the wisdom and deep love you share for both!”— Mom of 12-year-old child with special needs
“I don’t think we could survive our kid without The Wise Family. Our clinician is so patient and such a compassionate person. She helps our child feel so in control of his body, and us so in control of our parenting.”— Parent of 6 year old client