Embrace the Differences

June is national Pride month. In the Twin Cities, Pride culminates the weekend of June 26, with the parade on Sunday. Aside from being an awesome family-friendly event in Loring Park with just so much fun to be had, it’s also a chance for kids from all kinds of families to play and interact. Kids learn love from us, so let’s make sure they learn to love all families, even if they don’t look like the one they are growing up in.

Embrace the Differences | Twin Cities Moms Blog
“They are both my real moms”

My kids have two moms. This isn’t earth-shattering, and it certainly isn’t to them. My three year old is also very aware that families come in all sorts of configurations and she happily plays house with a variety of family structures represented. Some of her friends have a mommy and a daddy, some of them have just a mommy, others have two moms like hers and still others have grandparents raising them. Likewise, her friends come in all shades, abilities and socioeconomic classes. But to her, they are all just her friends. Because it really can be that simple.

Now, I’m not saying my daughter is on higher moral ground, but I believe her awareness and acceptance is because we have made it a point in our family to embrace the differences. And embracing starts by acknowledging. Kids are curious. Kids are observant. These two truths are unanimously agreed upon by all of the parents I know. Kids have likely noticed these differences already, it’s our choice (and I would argue prerogative) as parents to give them the language, empathy and understanding to align them in their own minds. Difference does not equal inferior. It should mean more people to learn from with insights different than our own. More ways to experience the world around us. More ways to love.

Knowing that we can be loved exactly as we are gives us all the best opportunity for growing into the healthiest of people.

– Fred Rogers

We have been teaching and showing our kids that everyone deserves to be loved exactly as they are. And yes, my family may be different than yours, but I’d venture that every family is different than yours in a variety of ways. Maybe it’s easy to get caught up in the differences, but I think it’s much more rewarding to focus on where we overlap and on how our differences can make us stronger. Let your kids ask questions about their friends’ families. If you don’t know the answers, ask someone who is willing to share their experience with you, perhaps the parent of that friend. Knowledge is power, right?!

Our kids are growing up in a much more connected world than we did – socially, intellectually, environmentally – with exposure to so much more – culturally, socioeconomically, politically. I hope we are leading by example and giving them the confidence and experiences to live fully connected the world over.

Annie and her partner of ten years are making strong efforts to raise their two kids with an appreciation for adventure, laughter, love and being at the kitchen table at the same time while eating the same meal. They hike, paddleboard, snowshoe, camp, kayak - basically if you can do it outside, they probably are, along with their big ol’ spotty dog. They are passionate about exploring new places, new people, new food, new adventures, so they travel as often and as far-flung as they can. Plus, there's nothing quite like living through an epic airplane meltdown to make you really appreciate life. So far they've managed to live on both coasts and overseas, but the longest stint is in Minneapolis. When she’s not outside with her family you can find Annie madly trying to catch up on all the laundry, oh and working full time.

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