Affirmations
Susan's Blog

August 28th, 2017 - Creating a Kinder Community


Orlando. Charlottesville. Alabama, Ann Arbor. Where is all this hatred coming from? As a parent of young children, a member of the LGBTQ+ community and Executive Director of Affirmations, I’m increasingly disturbed with what’s going on in our world. Clearly hate, bigotry and discrimination don’t accomplish anything except to breed more hate. There is no question that I have a responsibility to my children to teach them by example; to show them that they are valued and that those with varying identities and backgrounds need to be valued as well. But what about moving beyond the boundaries of my own family? As a community member and leader, it is on me to be a role model here, as well. There is value in having open dialogue and providing education to level the playing field where lack of understanding may be a root cause for lack of acceptance. Here are 7 ways to start a productive conversation and show that you value the opinions of others:

1. Be an active listener
2. Get educated – be informed on the issues
3. Learn what it means to be gay, lesbian, bi-sexual or trans (LGBTQ+)
4. Embrace differences
5. Know where you come from
6. Be open to possibilities - ask questions and don’t make assumptions
7. Stand up for what you believe – challenge bigotry head-on with a thoughtful, non-defensive approach


When it comes to youth, keep in mind that they are the future. Raise them with love, compassion, empathy, and values that will foster kindness toward others. Teach them to advocate for themselves. Lead by example. They are always watching. Recognize that sometimes a child’s role model comes from outside the home. At Affirmations, we know that youth discover a lot about themselves by engaging with programs and services we offer. It’s a place for them to be authentic, feel valued and experience personal growth in a safe space. I’d like to challenge you to take some time each week and implement of one of these suggestions. Feel free to contact me so we can start a conversation. Together, we can make sure that our community is about love, not hate, and that the youth know they have a future waiting on the horizon.

Susan
serspamer@goaffirmations.org


“It is time for parents to teach young people early on that in diversity there is beauty and there is strength.” – Maya Angelou
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