Even when you’re not living in an area that is obviously diverse, there are a number of ways in which you can ensure your family stays socially aware.
Inclusivity isn’t just about location and geography, it’s also about perspective and attitude – valuing every individual as somebody who innately deserves our attention and respect. Whatever our circumstances or wherever we’re living, it’s possible to cultivate our desire to get to know another’s way of life.
With this in mind, here are 5 ideas to seek out and celebrate diversity both inside and outside your own community.
Prose that is well-written allows you to step into the shoes of another person – albeit briefly. Read a wide variety of books from different time periods and perspectives and introduce your children to a broad spectrum of literature too. Choose authors who write informative and engaging books without preachiness.
Select Your Media Wisely
Media streaming and web surfing has broad the world within easy reach. Within seconds we can follow a favourite blog, connect with groups on Facebook, or watch TV. Select media which reflects inclusive values and avoid programming which makes generalisations about ethnic, social, cultural or religious groups, particularly if those generalisations are negative ones. You should instead choose programming which builds empathy and increases understanding as well as news programming which includes multiple perspectives and that challenges those that you hold yourself.
Embrace the opportunity to meet people who are outside your own immediate circle. Volunteer work such as visiting nursing homes or serving food at homeless shelters can help you to widen your horizons. Embracing diversity centres around appreciating and getting to know people from different ethnic groups, ages, cultures, religions and socio-economic sectors.
Try New Things
Stepping outside your comfort zone allows you to build more understanding. So see a play, go to a concert, or attend a religious service which is unusual for you. When you travel, plan different activities which steer away from traditional tourist destinations, focusing instead on becoming more fully immersed in the local culture. Take the time to ask local people where they choose to eat instead of going to run-of-the-mill restaurants. Volunteer at local charities and attend more community events. Dedicate a day of your vacation to helping out in the place you’re visiting.
It’s important to develop an awareness of the language you’re using when you talk about certain groups. Are you being fair and accurate? If you’re not, it’s time to change and challenge it. Everyone has their own biases which often have their origins in our experiences and upbringing, however, often they’re inaccurate and incomplete. They can limit our growth, preventing us from forming enriching and positive relationships with other people.
All-too-often, being inclusive sounds like we should be doing things for other people, however if you can cultivate an inclusive attitude, you can actually experience major advantages yourself. Whenever we embrace our differences, we can approach society with an open and generous heart, seeing people as individuals instead of demographics and groups – something that can benefit everybody.