Names and labels... Horrible things.
A topic near and dear to me. Very.
Kids are parrots, I think we can agree on that. What is more, I noticed when I was a teacher that young kids think their parents' (and other trusted adults') opinions are the law of the land. Because of this, I feel it is important that we model "Person First Language" and show our kids that all individuals are worthy of being treated with dignity and equality.
Two moments I will never forget:
When I was a teacher, a sweet little 5 year old in my class said she thought that people "with black skin" were bad people. I remember the torturous feeling inside of me as I looked for words to say to her. I didn't want to stand by silently and I didn't want to contradict her parents, who had taught her this.
My other memory was when I had my little cousin along with me as we were shopping for a new fridge, she was 5 at the time. Down the aisle from us was a man using an oxygen tank on wheels. He walked slowly down the aisle pulling the tank along. I stood there for a moment praying that my little cousin wouldn't say anything rude. She looked up at me and said, "Do you think we should move to the next aisle so that that gentleman can come down this aisle?" I smiled (totally impressed) and said, "I think that is a very nice idea, sure."
You hold the remote control to your child's belief system; what are you going to do with it?