As a young child my parents provided me with two invaluable tools; one to think independently and the second to respect opinions different than mine. This term we were asked to participate in self-reflections regarding our definitions of culture and diversity as they relate to ourselves and how we view and participate in the world around us. Self-examination can be daunting and painful, but it’s through conflict and challenge that we find our strength and grow, mentally and emotionally. Our culture and diversity speaks directly to who we are, what we are and what we believe.
I’ve been fortunate to have branches and roots planted in my life that has helped shaped my compassion and understanding for my family, my peers and my community. In embarking on this new journey as an educator, I hope to pool that knowledge, continue to examine my own beliefs and work towards building a better community of passionate and tolerant individuals who will strife and work together to solve differences and bring about peace and harmony.
Understanding the family dynamics to include our cultural and diverse differences is important when teaching children how to respect themselves, others and to have compassion for those who have both inwardly and outwardly differences. It’s these differences that teach us love, teaches us humility and compassion. It is how we build our self-esteem, beliefs and values. It forces us as individuals, communities and nations to engage in dialogue to bring about clarity, understanding and compromise. We as educators have the ability to not only instill this passion in our students, but to facilitate change and ignite passion in parents, families and colleagues as we collectively work together to bring out the best in our children; the next generation of leaders, diplomats and everyday layman.
To my colleagues and Dr. Parrish, I humbly say thank you for listening to my personal experiences, sharing parts of your lives with me and the words of advice and encouragement. As I continue to grow and develop as a person, each experience brings a little more clarity and focus to my purpose. I believe I finally found my voice and purpose. If I can help one child, each and every day to find their purpose, their voice, then I can say I did a great thing.