Official Newsletter of ASPIRA of Florida
ADVOCATING PEACE AND TOLERANCE IN THE LIVES OF OUR YOUTH
tolerance and compassion.
Children take their emotional cues from the significant adults in
their lives. Avoid making
negative statements about any racial, ethnic, or religious group.
useful information. Accurate information about the people, events, reactions, and
feelings is empowering. Use
language that is developmentally appropriate for children. Make sure that all information is factually true.
This is especially important when news reports have negative
statements about ethnic groups.
how it would feel to be blamed unfairly by association.
Ask children if they have ever gotten in trouble for something a
sibling or friend did and how they felt.
Would they like it if their entire class were punished for the
actions of one student and if they think this would be fair?
positive, familiar images of diverse ethnic groups.
Identify people of diverse ethnicities that your children know and
who have a positive place in their lives.
These could be neighbors, friends, school personnel, health care
professionals, members of their faith community, or local merchants.
Discuss the many characteristics, values, and experiences the
children have in common with these people.
projects to help those in need with people from diverse backgrounds. Helping others is part of the healing process.
Working with classmates or members of the community who come from
different backgrounds not only enables children to feel that they are
making a positive contribution, it also reinforces their sense of
commonality with diverse people.
about the diverse communities and faiths represented in you area. Knowledge debunks myths about other people and can humanize
other cultures. In school,
have children share information about their family or cultural customs to
reinforce the notion that all people have special beliefs and rituals.
books with you children that address prejudice, tolerance, and hate.
There are many, many stories appropriate for varying age groups
that can help children think about and define their feelings regarding
these issues. The school or
local librarian can make recommendations.
Some of the material in this article was taken from NASP’s website at www.nasponline.org.
by Kelli Sheller, M.S.
ASPIRA Eugenio Maria De Hostos Charter School
events that occurred on September 11th remind us that violence
is not something that only takes place in some distant and far away land.
With a harsh reality check, we now realize that no man, woman or
child is immune from this type of violence, that it is no longer something
that happens to “others.” The terrorist attacks have in one day made
us all part of the experience of global violence.
After the initial shock, the natural reaction is to punish those
responsible. “Fighting back” is a natural reaction to tragedy in that
we as human beings feel as if we are taking control of our lives again.
Maslow’s “Hierarchy of Needs Theory” places a person’s need
to feel safe and free from threat above even the physical needs for food
and shelter. Combining these
two ingredients, anger and the need for safety, if used in a positive
mode, can be used as a catalyst for change. Using them negatively with
vengeance in mind to lash out at the “other” (the perceived enemy), we
will not only in the long run hurt our psyche’s but that of our children
are like sponges; they absorb all that is around them, and because the
ability to filter the information that comes in is still maturing, it
becomes difficult for the child to determine what is positive vs. what is
negative. Given our diverse
school culture, many students will become targets of blame and hostility.
To bully or harass anyone is unacceptable, and it will only
escalate more conflict if it is based on a perception that the victims are
the enemy. We as parents and
educators must be quick to respond and prevent this type of abusive
behavior. As adults, we have
a unique opportunity to become role models for our children in reforming
our own feelings of fear and anger into ones that exhibit compassion,
tolerance and dignity for all no matter what their cultural or ethnic
origins. In doing so, we will
present a mirror for our children to look at and explore their own
feelings of hate and prejudice of the “other”.
As a leadership development/educational community based institution, ASPIRA of Florida offers the following tips (on the left column of this page) to parents, teachers, and the community to act as a guideline in promoting peace and tolerance and send the message that our strength lies in the belief of individual freedom, respect and dignity for all, and to not base our perceptions on the actions of a few.
further information on promoting tolerance among children and youth,
contact Kelli Sheller at (305)576-1512,
COMING on APRIL 13, 2002
21ST ANNIVERSARY GALA
FOR MORE INFORMATION CALL:
(305) 576-1512, x35