It’s that time of year when many classes and groups are talking about Mother’s and Father’s Day. And many behind-the-scenes conversations happen around what to have students do who don’t have or aren’t in contact with their mom or dad. Or maybe they have two of one or the other. In a world where the “nuclear family” represents a decreasing number of young people’s family situation, these holidays can cause some awkward moments.
If your school or group is doing Mother’s Day or Father’s Day activities, I’m proposing you take the bull by the horns. Talk freely with (not at) your kids. Explain that the official holiday is Mother’s Day (for example), but that like most traditions, we can tweak it to what works best for us each. Talk about how not all families have moms. Or some have a mom plus a grandma plus an auntie! Or some have a birth mother and an adoptive mother. Ask them what they think Mother’s Day is really about. Hopefully your discussion will come around to the idea that it’s about showing someone you love how grateful you are to have them in your life. Then read some stories that show all different kinds of families.
When we avoid a topic, that teaches kids that it’s something to be embarrassed about. For more picture books that celebrate diversity, check out this list of 20 picture books to help you raise kind, tolerant kids, from NBC’s Today Show.
And then proceed with your cards or crafts or other projects, encouraging and celebrating each child’s creation, whether it’s for Mom or another loved person.
I’d love for you to share this with any colleagues you think would benefit from reading it. Thanks!
[My Classroom Connections posts share a way to connect one of my books or poems to a classroom topic–often something timely that you might be covering in the next month or so. Please share this post if you have educator friends who might be interested–thanks!]