Full Disclosure: Mattel has compensated me for this post, however, the thoughts and opinions are my own.
If our computers still announced a new email with, “You’ve Got Mail” that would have been what it told me when I got the email from our oldest’s 1st-grade teacher.
Subject: Think Sheet Incident
It was an email that I knew I shouldn’t open at work but knew that I had to. As a parent, it is our responsibility to know what is going on in our kid’s lives before they even know that we know.
As I read through the email explaining that my son stuck up for a girl at school, I couldn’t help but be that proud dad. Here we are raising our son to stand up for girls when he sees that they are being mistreated (abused seems like a strong word for boys in the 1st grade however it is the right word to use in context).
And then there was the reaction that the boy had towards my son, the boy punched him. Right there was reason enough to use it as a teaching lesson that he did the right thing in standing up for this 1st-grade girl who was telling this boy that she didn’t want to be kissed. It was also a good time to talk about reacting with violence and that in many situations that
Throughout my son’s life, he has seen his mother go back to school and become an advocate for kids and their families, a job that is incredibly important in today’s world. While we were discussing standing up for our friends, it was also the time we could address that boys and girls are not all that different. Girls can grow up and do many of the things that boys do and vice versa. Just because someone is a girl shouldn’t stop them from achieving their dream, and we should encourage that.
Being A Global Citizen
And just recently, my wife told me, “I’m so glad that I married a man that believes in Gender Equality.” I can’t remember the context of this statement, but I remember her saying that. I remember thinking back and hearing myself in my head say, “because is there any other way to think?”
It is just how I’ve grown up, believing that everyone no matter what their Gender, Sexuality, Race, Ethnicity, and so on should be treated with kindness and respect along with a feeling of acceptance and equality.
As I look back on growing up with a firm belief in Gender Equality has helped me navigate the conversations that we had with our son at the time he stood up for a girl in school. I realize that the school was stuck between a rock and a hard place. On the one hand, they want to teach kids to stand up against bullies. On the other they also don’t want to see kids resort to violence, we were able to speak about the empathy it took for him to have in the given situation, knowing that everyone should be treated as equals, and the self-confidence to stand up for what he believed to be right.
As a parent, these are some of the difficult conversations that we must have with our children. It isn’t easy, especially if you this the first time that you are needing to have the discussion with your children.
Thomas & Friends Working With The United Nations
I admit that when it comes to these conversations, I’m not the person to usually talk about it with my kids. I have a tendency to get off topic or talk about it in a way that is not relatable for them. Realizing I needed the help with some of these conversations, I found a trusted friend from my childhood, Thomas The Tank Engine that is teaming up with the United Nations and Olivia Wilde to help kids grow up to be Global Citizens.
With 6 short videos, the #1 Engine, is helping the United Nations achieve their sustainable development goals to tackle challenges around the world from health, education, environment, and more.
For more information on how Thomas & Friends are teaming up with the United Nations, head over to their website to see the 6 short videos, conversation starters, and activities that you can do with your kids and help our kids grow up to be global citizens.