Stop pigeonholing my family!
Are we only what others believe?
Let me begin by saying that you have probably met me. I am the parent with an entourage of young children, and not all of them are behaving well. You have probably stood behind me in line in the grocery store and mentally groaned, knowing that my large order will take a long time. My children have likely annoyed you with their direct, and often uncomfortable, questions. But you smile politely and say nothing. You may even think, "Why do they insist on having so many children?"
We homeschool our children and are careful about their external influences, for good reason. When children are in public, whether in school or at a store or anywhere, they absorb everything that they see. They later sift through these memories and choose which items they would like to incorporate into their behavior. Therefore, a parent must be very cautious about who and what is surrounding their children. This is not to say that you must be overprotective and stifiling - quite the contrary. A child, really any person, should be free to choose their individual path, provided it is a positive and not destructive, negative path. A careful, nurturing home is the best way for a child to explore and examine the world in a safe manner. So although you may think that my child is going to judge you for your differences, in fact, they will usually wonder about you and not care about the contrasts.
This, I think, is the crux of what needs to be done in our society. It is definitely true that people learn bias and bigotry. A large part of someone's association with a person, a place, an event, or anything has as much to do with what occurred as it does with the reaction by others. You may dislike a person who humiliated you, but it takes someone trusted and respected by you to turn this into hate or bias against the offender's whole people. Stereotypes are not started by one person. It takes many people who have been told that all of this kind are all like this . How can I generalize about you when I don't even know you? And let me ask, how can you generalize about me when you don't even know me?
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