Although I have written in the past and have been a frequent public speaker, I am nervous to start this blogging adventure. Putting my thoughts and ideas out in the public domain is a bit intimidating. Before we go any farther, know that I do not like to think of myself as an expert. I am not perfect. I have flaws and limitations like everyone else. I have more to learn. However, I believe I have a meaningful story to share.
I grew up in a very homogeneous suburban community near Cincinnati, Ohio. Like most Midwesterners, I was raised to be nice and I was really nice to everyone. But it wasn’t until my college years that I realized being nice didn’t cut it. It wasn’t until I left my hometown that I slowly and methodically discovered that there was a whole world that I had been taught not to see – a world full of beautiful differences. I also realized that these newly discovered cultural differences required more knowledge and skills to navigate than just me being nice.
This dawning awareness about culture and diversity eventually became the focal point of my undergraduate work. I spent a lot of time studying psychology, family dynamics, American history, white privilege, sexuality, racism, homophobia, civil rights, and other topics related to diversity. Outside the classroom, I formed life-long friendships that crossed color, ethnicity, class, religion, nationality, sexual orientation, and geography.
I continued to learn as much as I could about differences, specifically the intersection of cultural awareness and family life. I reflected on my own upbringing and kept asking the question, “How can families raise children who are culturally aware and respectful of differences?” I was interested in finding a way to prevent my own lack of awareness from being repeated. Instead of noticing a world full of differences for the first time at the age of 20, why not help children and families see these differences all along?
My personal journey has been incredibly rewarding. A lot of moments have been life changing… sort of like Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz, going from seeing the world in black, white, and hues of gray to seeing the world full of rich and brilliant colors. It has also been challenging and difficult at times. I have had to learn to do a lot of listening and questioning. I have had to learn that it’s okay to be uncomfortable. And I have had to admit that I was wrong. A lot.
I would like to share my journey with you. I will share stories and observations, as well as encourage you to read some things, watch some videos, and do some self-reflection. I plan to ask you a lot of questions along the way. Will you please join me?