My family and I were at the swimming pool one hot summer day. Our boys were already in line for their favorite spot at the pool, the diving board, before my husband and I could even get our towels down and flip flops off. Our rambunctious little men are typically very friendly and tend to meet new boys to play with wherever they go and this day was no exception. Before long the pair had been joined by 3 or 4 more boisterous little fellows all flipping and splashing and diving. As I watched I noticed that one particular little boy kept grabbing my youngest son’s ears and playing with them while waiting in line! I called him over to me. “Is he hurting you? What is he doing to your ears?” My little bright-eyed 8 year old just smiled and said, Oh it’s okay mommy, he says I have squishy ears. He says he likes them.”
That wasn’t the first time some one had pointed out his ears. He had a few kids in his class at school that had made comments. He had also received comments about how he talked. During times like these as parent you often wonder what to say to your child when these issues come up. Telling them to not let it bother them just doesn’t seem enough.
That night, just before bed, he brought up the boy at the swimming pool and his ears. Asking God for words of wisdom, I looked at my son and said, “Well, God made you with a plan in mind. The Bible says you are fearfully and wonderfully made. Everything about you like your thoughts, your face, your eyes, ears, and mouth make you….well, you. Some people, however, do not understand that. They think because they have the ears like they do that you should have the ears that they have too, or if their skin is a different color, they think your skin should be that color as well. Perhaps, they think that if they talk a certain way that you should talk a certain way too. However, if you did have their ears on your head, it would look completely silly because those ears were meant for them. If another person had the same voice as you, they wouldn’t sound like they are supposed to, they would sound like you. All that God has given you are what make you who you are. The next time some one teases you or says things like that to you, just smile and think to yourself that if you had their features on your face, you would not be you anymore. Try to also look at them with compassion that they just don’t understand and think how miserable it must be to walk around thinking every one should be like them because we are all different.”
As I spoke those words to him that night, I watched his serious eyes begin to clear and regain their usual sparkle as it began to dawn on him the importance of God’s handy work in creating him as a unique individual, unlike anyone else. I know that this will not be the end of it. His feelings will be hurt some times, but laying an early spiritual foundation of acceptance of differences can make so much of a difference. It teaches our kids to be thankful for who they are as well as compassionate for others who don’t agree with them or who are different. Ephesians 4:32 “Be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another just as God, through Christ, has forgiven you.”
Donna Mott is known as the “Blendermom” thrown in the mix of a blended family on her blog www.blendermom.me. Together with her wonderful supportive husband, she is trying to teach her children the truest Christian values of loving God and loving each other through compassion and service. She is a 2009 graduate of “She Speaks” through Proverbs 31 ministries, is part of the dream center ministries team at her church and is a regular contributor for familyfusioncommunity.com.
How do you teach your children about people’s differences?