This Mum Brilliantly Explains Why We Need to ‘Stop Teaching Our Children Not to Stare’
There is nothing more embarrassing as a parent than to have your child point and stare at a stranger that looks a little different to them and then proceed to ask an inappropriate question in their loudest outside voice. We don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, especially not someone who might be self-conscious of their appearance, so we teach our children not to stare instead. And we definitely teach them not to point and ask loud questions within earshot!
But one mum has shared a brilliant post on social media explaining why teaching our children not to stare is actually the opposite of what we should be doing.
Jenna Gines is a mother of three young children, including a son who has a rare undiagnosed genetic disorder. He wears glasses and uses a wheelchair which usually invites stares especially from other children. Instead of requesting other parents to teach their child not to stare, Jenna is encouraging others to not ignore people who are different and to say hi and ask questions instead.
Please stop teaching your children not to stare!
What are we teaching them when we say that? Don’t look at someone that is different than you. Don’t be curious or want to learn about something you’ve never seen before. Stay away from things that are different.
Instead, let them stare. Let them ask questions, talk about it. What is it that they see? What is it that they’re curious about? What is different? What is the same?
If it’s someone using a wheelchair, say hi. If it’s someone that looks or acts different, say hi. If it’s someone of short stature, say hi.
Teach your child about differences. It’s okay to be different. It’s okay to notice it and to talk about it. It’s even better to make a new friend. It’s not okay to ignore, look away, or act like a person who is different isn’t there.
Let’s embrace different. Let’s talk about differences and be the change we want to see in this world.
After her post was shared by many others, the mum followed up with a second post defending her stand against those who insist that it is impolite to stare.
“It’s not polite to stare”, they comment. I want to reply, you missed the point!
It’s okay to notice someone who is different then you and to look at them. You don’t have to look away and you don’t have to tell your children to look away. It’s okay to notice and it’s okay to talk about it.
It’s okay if your child says, why does he wear glasses? Or why is he in a wheelchair? Please don’t be embarrassed and please don’t hush them. Let them ask the questions and let us answer. Teach them about differences and encourage them to make a new friend.
Momma’s of children with different needs, what are your thoughts?? What do you want people to do when they notice your child? People with different needs, what do you want people to do when they notice you?
Her message is an important one, and a different point of view that many of us might not have considered before.
It is better to smile and say hello to someone than to ignore them completely because you don’t want to seem rude for staring. It’s so simple, really!
Source: Facebook/Jenna Gines