Guest Blogger Amanda McDermott, Team Lead, Beyond the Classroom

As I reflect on the events unfolding before us, it is clear, there is so much work to be done. I am reminded of an image I saw recently.

While we slowly work as a community to make progress toward systemic change such as demanding police reform, negotiating housing reform, education reform, and much more, change will not come about until values and principles of respecting equitable rights in Americans’ homes are instilled. True change will be seen when we hold one another accountable for parenting our children using awareness, empathy, and compassion. As parents, we must keep our children responsible for their individual behavior and teach them the value of all people. It is in true compassion and true understanding that we begin to comprehend the substantial impact that our differences have on our lives.

As a 10 and 14-year-old white children parent, my responsibility lies in educating them on a world full of inequities and biases, teaching them to learn and grow in their place in this world. Children learn best by example. Our kids look to us to model the behavior that we want to see from them. As my kids watch me acknowledge and make an effort to correct my own unconscious bias, they will learn that our work on ourselves is never complete. We must work on ourselves each day, to be better than the person we were the day before, for the good of ourselves and for the good of all people. For me, in addition to acknowledging my unconscious bias’, this starts with kindness. Emphasizing the significant effect that being kind can have on another individual is key. In addition, I use everyday conversations about what my kids are encountering in their lives each day and using playful curiosity to help them broaden their perspective. It is important to me that my children understand that each of us struggles with something and that most of the other’s behaviors are a direct result of their own internal struggle that we have no idea about as an outsider experiencing the situation. Lastly, teaching my kids to use their own privilege to stand up for the rights of others who do not share in that privilege is essential. When we have the means to do good for another or keep another from harm (psychological or physical), it is our responsibility to do so.

To summarize, as parents, we must teach our children by modeling the behavior we want to see in them through:

  • acknowledging our own bias and making an effort to correct it.
  • using kindness in our everyday interactions
  • holding ourselves and our children accountable for our actions and behaviors
  • using our place of privilege to help others.