By Alex Temblador
It’s almost 2017 — can you believe it? With the new year comes thoughts of resolutions for 2017. How can we better ourselves? What is our goals for 2017? What do we want to accomplish that we didn’t do in 2016?
Well, for all the modern parents out there who are running around this week while their kids are on holiday break, don’t worry — we have your 2017 resolutions covered. Check them out below!
Introduce diversity into your children’s lives
Non-traditional families are on the rise, and by non-traditional we mean, modern families that have LGBT parents or children, are multiracial or adoptive, created via surrogacy or IVF, blended, or multi-generational. Whether your family is considered a “non-traditional” family type or not, it’s important for parents to introduce diversity into their children’s lives and show them that families come in a broad range of shapes and sizes.
For 2017, we encourage you to make a resolution to introduce your children and yourself to diversity. This means buying children’s books with diverse families. (Click here for a list of those!)
This means watching television shows like Doc McStuffins or films about different types of families like Despicable Me. This also means actively interacting with diverse people in your community. Perhaps, that means you get your children involved in after-school activities with kids of other neighborhoods or going to multi-cultural events in your city.
Though it may be easy to sit back and hope that your children learn about diversity, it’s more rewarding to see your kids flourish in the diversity that is this country.
Talk to your kids more — and about relevant topics
In 2016, our families witnessed a lot of things on the news from police brutality, to high-profile rape cases, to social movements like Black Lives Matter, to mass shootings of a LGBT community, to a president-elect demeaning women and immigrants throughout his election run. You saw this. Your kids saw this. And that doesn’t go away.
One of the hardest things for a parent to witness is their children losing their innocence and learning that the world is not all unicorns and cupcakes. And yet, it is so important for parents to speak to their kids about things like racism, sexism, civil rights movements for the LGBT community, and much more. Why? Because it is happening all around them — they are not impervious to the news, to your subtle emotions, to the talk of other kids at school. They know that things are going on, but it’s important for YOU, their parent, to help them sort through it.
In 2017, we challenge you to have talks about gender equality, LGBT rights, racism and white privilege, and acceptance of all people despite their creed, color, practices, abilities, or family types. It is not enough to just set an example anymore — 2016 has taught us that if we want to change the world, we have to start changing hearts and minds, and as a parent you have the power to do this.
Bring more kindness and empathy practices to your family
“Love trumps hate” was a huge mantra of 2016, but how can you practice that as a family? By bringing more kindness and practices of empathy and giving into your family life. Get you and your family involved in volunteer efforts, raising money for charities, or donating time and goods to others.
Need some ideas on how to do this? Brainstorm as a family! Google! Ask Facebook! Then make a 12-month Kind Acts Calendar where you challenge your family to do something good for others each month. You don’t have to do something “big” every month. Maybe one month you gather loose change and donate the funds to a charity. Another month, encourage your kids to open doors for everyone or clean an elderly neighbor’s yard. Get creative and bring more kindness and empathy in your life.
Be more proactive in your community (small and large) after inauguration day
Inauguration day is quickly approaching and many of us are getting anxious. A president who has helped move forward civil rights and social action in the U.S. will be replaced by a president-elect who has spouted misogyny, hate, homophobia, racist, xenophobic, and discriminatory rhetoric at every turn. We must stand against his promises to turn back time in our country.
As a parent, you have more power than you might originally imagine. What will be done in the next four years can affect your family and the future of your children and we challenge your inner-mama and papa bear selves to stand up against the president-elect and his discriminatory administration. So how can you do that?
It can begin small — donations to the ACLU who has promised to fight the president-elect at every turn in court. Or you can sign petition after petition. Then you can do a little bit more like calling your representatives or emailing them when a law proposal that would hurt diverse families comes up in your community. And if you want to do a bit more — march, call, be active, talk to others, get involved in groups and events. You don’t have to involve your kids in this, but you can, because what’s most important is that we stand tall and we stand together.
Click here for ways in which you can help the LGBT community in 2017.