There’s nothing we want more as parents than to see our children grow up to be well-rounded, emotionally stable, compassionate kind of people. We want them to be filled with kindness and compassion and acceptance.
And if it were up to us, it would be an easy task to accomplish. But our children will grow up and be influenced by things that our beyond control. There is for example the pop culture. There is also the influence of their peers.
This dispatch from New York involving two teenagers attacking an innocent Muslim man makes you wonder what kind of environment they grow up in.
Mujibir Rahman had just picked up his nine-year-old niece from school in the Parkchester neighborhood of the Bronx when two teenage boys jumped him. They pushed him to the ground and began punching and kicking him, all the while screaming, “ISIS! ISIS!”
Proud and prejudiced
Mujibir, who had been wearing at the time traditional South Asian garment shalwar kameez, suffered bruising on his face and a black eye. Thankfully, his niece was unharmed, but witnessing the hat-crime left her emotionally traumatized.
Both boys, aged fourteen and fifteen, had since been arrested.
Still the influence we impart on our children plays an important role in their future selves.
“It’s a sad day in our society when teenagers attack people because of their religious belief,” Mujibir said in a statement. “I hope that their parents impress upon them the seriousness of what they did and that they demonstrate remorse.”
We have a responsibility to raise our children without any trace of intolerance and prejudice, not only for our own benefit but also for our every evolving society and the world at large.
It is not an easy feat, especially with religious extremist groups like the Islamic State cultivating a culture of terror. But with the right tools and information, we can do it.
Here are some tips on how you can teach your child how to love humankind and live in a terrorism-free world:
- Explore. We’d like to keep our children in the cocoon we’ve created for them, but we shouldn’t be afraid to let them explore the bigger world out there, one that isn’t only occupied by Mommy and Daddy. Familiarity with one’s surroundings removes the fear and trepidation of being outside the cocoon and encourages an openness to experience new things or meet new people.
- Talk to strangers. This helps children overcome shyness. Let them ask questions or share stories with the people they encounter. Children shouldn’t be made to fear strangers because there are safe strangers – you just need to teach children how to detect them.
- Talk about race. It can decrease prejudice and increase acceptance of others, especially when you help children be more aware of people’s differences and similarities. Encourage them by asking questions like, “Don’t you love his red hair?” or “What a beautiful accent, don’t you think?”
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