I'm taking a social media break for the month of December. I’ve got some super fun new projects in the works, and of course I’ll be drinking all the eggnog and eating all the cookies. And going outside to play as much as possible!
It’s not “the talk,” but it can feel just as tricky. It’s important to initiate a conversation about race with your child, rather than waiting for it to just “come up.” And while it’s not an easy or simple talk, it is one you can prepare for. Here are four pretty simple steps to help, along with links to more information so you can dig deeper.
1. Name it and claim it.
The first step towards awareness around race is to name it explicitly. When we confidently use words such as Black, White, Latino, Asian, Mixed Race, Arab and Native American, we give kids the language they need to make sense of what they experience. The old notion of “colorblindness” doesn’t work; it doesn’t line up with reality and never actually did. Instead, we want to see race clearly as we celebrate and honor our differences, our histories and our cultures. Here’s a quick reference:
• Use race terms confidently
• Let your kids know it’s ok to use these words themselves.
• If your kid uses an incorrect or unkind term, correct them. The same goes for yourself.
• Don’t bother pretending you’re colorblind – or that anyone else is, either.
2. Get educated.
Issues of race, and of white privilege, are inextricably woven into our nation’s history. If you live in this country, it’s woven into yours, too. Knowing the truth about where we’ve been, and where we are as a people, is essential to dismantling racism in our homes. Here are some great places to broaden and deepen your knowledge.
• Teaching Tolerance: https://www.tolerance.org/professional-development/on-racism-and-white-privilege
• Unpacking white privilege: https://nationalseedproject.org/white-privilege-unpacking-the-invisible-knapsack
• Raising Race Conscious Children: http://www.raceconscious.org/2017/07/race-matters-story-white-privilege/
• The longest shortest time: How to Not Accidentally Raise a Racist: https://longestshortesttime.com/episode-116-how-to-not-accidentally-raise-a-racist/
• Race, Racism and White Privilege in America: http://www.mediaed.org/whitelikeme/index.html
3. Stock up on truth.
Children’s literature is indispensable in helping inform these kinds of conversations. Books with characters who look different from you (and this doesn’t mean animals!) and celebrate different cultures will ease the topic of race into your child’s worldview. If your child seems not to notice, gently point it out and see what he or she says. In addition, you can intentionally choose books that are written and illustrated by People of Color and represent heroes and sheroes of Color.
Good kids’ books on race
Books with Sheroes/Heroes of color
4. Face race in your kid’s questions.
Your kid has a million questions. That’s normal. Some of them are about race. Also normal. Sometimes he or she may ask these questions in a way that’s embarrassing, stereotypical or that uses inappropriate language. Again, normal. But don’t shut down the conversation there: Silencing a child so as not to offend anyone really just teaches them that talking about race is ‘bad.’ Instead, tackle this stuff head on. The way you handle this topic will be the most important guide for their thinking and future interactions. Here are a few ways to transition from question to answer.
• “You made an interesting observation. Here’s what I know about that…”
• “The word you used is said by some people to be mean. I know you didn’t mean it like that. Here is a different word to use instead…”
• “We don’t talk about the way people look in front of them. When we get home, I’d be happy to try and answer your questions.”
These are just four suggestions in an endless sea of important conversations. Let us know if you have additional tips, or if a personal story has led you to see the value – or the pitfalls – of any of these strategies.
Offered to you by Malkah Bird, MEd & Penelope Dullaghan, artist.
Malkah Bird, MEd, is a certified teacher, a parenting coach and a parent educator at Parenting With You. She teaches at a cooperative school in Indianapolis where she spends her time encouraging her kindergartners and their families to keep having hard conversations.
Penelope Dullaghan is an illustrator, pattern maker and creative explorer. She believes art can help bring about positive social change and that social change often starts with children. As a mother, she's interested in bringing more mindful, open conversation to her to parenting.
So tired of hearing about all the greed and corruption in the news. Here’s some ice cream. I hope you have a good day!
Just a fun one!
Pattern work makes me so happy. I love figuring out how the pieces fit together and repeat. Do you prefer the light background or dark palette?
Happy Monday, friends!
I got to do the fall cover and opening editorial spread for Ma Vie, a German magazine. I really love how it turned out - bright and bold with a limited palette.
And just for fun, here are my sketches I sent to the AD:
Glennon's message about not shielding our kids from pain, but leading them through it courageously, resonated so deeply with me. Being with pain - and not shying away from it - is something my little family of three tries to practice regularly with small things so when the big things come up we can call on our tools of kindness, wisdom and resilience. These qualities are muscles we try to build.
My deepest gratitude to Glennon, Super Soul, Oprah Magazine and SALT Project.
Introducing two new pins all about dogs - one for you and one for your pup!
Take a pic and tag Pincause, sharing your story about how you and your dog found, and saved, each other!
Women Who Draw just launched their first collaborative art piece, ONE SKY, where women artists all over the globe looked up at exactly the same time and drew the sky they saw. All the drawings were then put together to form one sky - you can see them all here. Such a beautiful concept, especially needed right now I think. This was my contribution.
For our 40th birthdays (Colin's in July, mine in September), we wanted a sweatshirt vacation. Nothing tropical or hot. But cool, sparse and active. We'd seen a few pictures of Nova Scotia and it looked beautiful - underpopulated, clean and spacious. And that's exactly what we found. Lots of space to think, clear out our minds, and populate them with new inspiration.
We hiked trails ending in waterfalls. Swam in cold, clear lakes. And climbed a mountain to see literally breathtaking views. Above are a few pictures I snapped. Click on them to see bigger.
When Summersalt asked me to do an illustration of a childhood summer memory, so many little scenes started playing in my head like movies snippets... now sepia toned and scented with sunscreen and cut grass and red raspberries. When I think of my childhood summers, I think of freedom... floating in lakes, catching frogs and riding bikes. Days unfolding slowly. I try to create that feeling now as an adult, and as a parent, as much as I can. #slowliving
In our house, we always end the day by sharing our rose (best part of our day), thorn (the worst) and bud (something we're looking forward to). It usually sparks meaningful conversation and helps our little family of three feel close even though our days are often spent apart. I know I've mentioned this ritual before, but I wanted to capture it in an illustration.
I've just closed my shop for a little time off, but if there's enough interest, I will add this as a print when I reopen this fall. I think it'd be sweet in a kids room or nursery. Let me know if you're interested! And let me know if you try "Rose, Thorn, Bud" and what you think! xo
New work for Brightly, Penguin Random House: a banner illustration to accompany a post about books that show kids how to be a friend. Such a fun piece to work on! Thanks to Art Director Erika Nanartowicz for the assignment!
Here are some close ups:
All projects start here.