This post is dedicated to Andre Anchondo. Andre was a friend, son, husband, father, and hero, who along with his wife, shielded their newborn from a shooter in the El Paso Shooting and paid the ultimate price with their lives. To read more about Andre, click to this link.
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Recently, my 7-year old son told me a story about his friends asking where he was from. While he knew that both sides of our families are from Vietnam, he told them that he was from China. Stunned, I asked him why and he simply answered, “Well, if I told them Vietnam, they would probably not know where it is and make me show them. Plus, I don’t know where it’s at on the map yet.”
I chuckled as I heard his reasoning but also sad that he inadvertently changed who he is to avoid further questioning and help his friends better understand and connect to who he wanted to them to think he is. After he finished sharing his story, we had a thorough conversation on who he REALLY is and why he should not worry what others think of us when they ask, “Where are you from?”
To be completely honest, I experienced this myself many times over as a child. Because of the Vietnam War, when I do share that I am from Vietnam, many adults can relate. However, growing up, my friends and other children didn’t and I always had to go into a BIG explanation of the differences between Vietnamese people and Chinese people, how we are two different cultures, yet also share many traditions, and so on and so forth.
My son’s experience reminded me how very important we need to help our children understand where they are from and how to PROUDLY share this with others. For if we can teach our students to be more accepting of others and condemn racism, we will all benefit from a future, country, and world that is more inclusive regardless of our skin color.
HarperCollins recently shared a book with me, that hit straight home with me.
Disclosure: Some of the links are affiliated links, meaning that I will earn a commission if you click through the links and make a purchase.
In Where Are You From, a girl keeps getting asked where she is from. She is confused as any kid is and turns to her grandpa to help her understand her true identity.
This book is truly a great introduction to the discussion of who each child in our class really is and why it’s so so so important that every child feels accepted, belonged, and celebrated in our class no matter their gender, religion, and RACE.
After reading this book, students can complete this Family Activity at home and then share with their class. Students can even bring in any family artifact to share!
Click to the FREE printable below to download for your classroom!
While acceptance and tolerance need to be taught throughout the year, I hope that this activity helps set the stage and begin a conversation that is ongoing and fruitful for our children.