“Giraffes can’t dance, you silly fool! Oh Gerald, you’re so weird.”
“Mommy, that’s not very nice! They’re being mean!” This is the response my four-year-old says every time we hit that part of the book.
That book is, Giraffes Can’t Dance, by Giles Andreae.
At the end of the story, Gerald learns to dance- to his own music- in his own style. A new way of saying, We all beat to our own drum, or It’s okay to be different.
The last time we read the story, it really hit me. Will they call my child weird? Will they tell him he’s something he’s not? That he shouldn’t have blue eyes and blonde hair if his grandpa has brown eyes and black skin. Or that he’s not smart enough, not strong enough, not funny enough… Or worse, will he believe them?
Is this a fear of all parents? That someday, someone will try and convince our child of something they’re not. Taking away in seconds what we’ve told them their whole life they are- smart enough, strong enough, funny enough.
I know my child will make mistakes. I know he won’t get along with everyone. But maybe it’s what I don’t know that scares me most. I don’t know what they’ll say. I don’t know how he’ll respond. I don’t even know if he’ll tell me about it.
My friend, Leslie once told me, “The world may tell my kids one thing, but they come back to my house.” Her House! Where she teaches them about LOVE and VALUES. About GOD and FORGIVENESS. Her House!
As my son gets older, I realize that I can’t protect him from every nook and cranny of this world. But at My House, I can hopefully show him who he really is- smart, strong, funny, just to name a few. I pray he’ll realize, that just like Gerald,
“We all can dance when we find music that we love!”
*How have you prepared yourself and/or children to cope with adversity?
*Giraffes Can’t Dance is a great book to highlight diversity and acceptance.
*I stumbled upon this link, which has great resources and ideas for teaching diversity, acceptance and bully prevention: http://www.collegesuccess1.com/DiversityM.htm
(I found the link from: http://cockroachesladybugs.blogspot.com.es/2012/11/the-importance-of-promoting-diversity.html – Thanks!)