Growing up, children can be brutal. This is the story of Dots, the freckled face boy.
Dots moved to Chicago when he was 12. Coming from the south where the weather was always nice, he spent a lot of time outdoors. Dots had fair skin and reddish orange hair. The kind of hair that looked to be ablaze. He had freckles all over his body. Not just a couple, but so many that counting them would take a lifetime.
On Dots’ first day of school he looked around and saw a few blonde heads, but mainly brown-haired kids in his class. And not a one of them had his skin pigmentation or freckles. Dots knew it was going to be a long school year. Possibly a long life.
Dots tried to fit in with the other boys as best he could. He joined the basketball team, the chess club and even went as-far-as to bring Hot Wheels cars to the other boys to play with. No one would have anything to do with him. An outcast with leprosy if one were to guess.
Day-after-day Dots would put his best foot forward. His mother would tell him to keep trying. Never to give up. Dots would try to find new and creative ways to get the other boys to like him. Nothing seemed to work.
During lunch or outside for recess, it seemed that the other kids would make fun of him, knock him down or, just ignore him. Day-after-day. Week-after-week. Month-after-month. Dots walked alone, isolated, in his world of school and play. Not a friend to be had.
As I sit here writing this story of Dots. I can think of the many times throughout life I’ve come across the Dots’ of the world. Keeping to themselves, never making eye contact, sheepish. Some of them I’m sure have moved past that stage of their life. But what about the ones that haven’t. What about the ones that still feel the hurt and pain of the kids that didn’t like them. We read or hear about it all the time. You’ve heard the bullying stories for yourself.
So how do you educate your children at a young age not to cast judgement on others? How do you teach them that it is not alright to judge on looks and not actions? How do you get through to your kids that because someone has different skin color, talk a different language, worship a different God or, hell, even marry in the same-sex, that they still deserve your respect?
Looking back to when I was growing up. It all starts at home. The prejudices we learn start there. Whether we want to admit it or not. When we are around slanderous talk about someone who is not likes us all our lives, we adapt to that way of thinking. To those prejudice ways of thinking. So common sense would tell you that you have to start here. To watch what you say in front of your kids. But that’s not the only thing. You have to live that way as well. You need to set the example to your children not only through talk, but to also set the example in your everyday actions.
I challenge you here and now to set a better example for your children. To end bullying and bigotry.
Leave a comment below and let me know how you try to teach your children.
- Freckles – “Killer Sparks” (fishtankmom.wordpress.com)
- Why Do I Have Freckles, and What Can I Do About Them? (dailyglow.com)