Dad, Peer Pressure Can Be Really Bad

Last week both of my kids were introduced to a video on peer pressure. It wasn’t formally part of the virtual school learning, but it was included in a program that their classrooms use. Shortly after watching a movie where a character is “drunk” my daughters gave me a lesson on peer pressure. It started with, “Dad, peer pressure can be really bad.” The lesson was great, but it didn’t include anything on how peer pressure provides an opportunity for learning and growing. So after they were done teaching me we had a conversation on exactly that.

Continue reading “Dad, Peer Pressure Can Be Really Bad”

Why are Most of the People Who Work at Airports of Color? And Pilots White?

Boarding the plane for a recent trip, my daughter inched patiently behind me counting each row we passed anxiously waiting to get to row 26. As we approached our seats she tapped me on the lower back and said, “Daddy, can I sit next to you? Sister can sit next to mommy.”

Continue reading “Why are Most of the People Who Work at Airports of Color? And Pilots White?”

What are our DNA results?

About a year and a half ago my younger sister embarked on an exploration of the family tree using one of the many commercial DNA test kits. Like many others, especially those whose heritage is riddled with the various American storied outcomes of conquest, persecution, and integration, my family was very interested curious to garner a better understanding of our history. 

Continue reading “What are our DNA results?”

I Never Want to Take a Test Again

Two hours of each of the first four weeks of my daughter’s second week of 3rd grade school year was spent taking national standardized tests. This was her first experiences with these tests and based on her self-report they were all but enjoyable. Each day I asked her about the test that was taken that day. Each conversation followed a format similar to the following:

Continue reading “I Never Want to Take a Test Again”

It Smells Worse than Daddy’s Farts: A Talk about Environmental Racism

“Dad! What’s that smell!” Said my oldest daughter as we drove north on the interstate heading home from the museum.

Chiming in, “Ya dad! It smells worse than your farts!” My younger daughter added.

“That’s the smell of the oil refinery. The wind must be blowing the smell in this direction” I responded with a laugh.

Continue reading “It Smells Worse than Daddy’s Farts: A Talk about Environmental Racism”

The Stereotype of Latino Men in Construction

On our way to school the other morning my daughter asked me, “Why are most of the people who do construction work Latino?”

“That would be a better question to ask a Latino person who does construction.”

She was silent for a moment and then said, “But I don’t know and Latino people who do constructions and I don’t talk to strangers. Why do YOU think a lot of construction workers are Latino.”

Continue reading “The Stereotype of Latino Men in Construction”

Nine ways to confront bullying in the early grades.

It was a Wednesday. The afternoon was moving along as it typically does. My daughters and I sat down to eat a snack. I asked both of them, “Who did you each lunch with today, sweetie?” My older daughter looked at me and began to cry. Tears and a hug later were followed up by a question I had asked myself growing up. But the context was different and I had no one to answer. I asked the question because I was pushed and tripped. Hers was because she was told nobody likes her.

“Why am I bullied?”

Continue reading “Nine ways to confront bullying in the early grades.”

The Misconceptions We Reinforce When Talking to Children about Disability, and Solutions

Last school year my youngest daughter befriended a young boy, Jonathan in her class with Down Syndrome. A few months into the school year she and my older daughter were having regular conversation about playing with Jonathan. Throughout that stretch of time I was met by periodic questions and comments about why Jonathan. Why doesn’t Jonathan say words? Why does Jonathan have different rules than other children? Why does Jonathan have his own teacher? Many times the questions came across as rhetorical. It sounded like the came out of a conversation that the teachers had with the students. The questions were more about receiving confirmation from me, a former early childhood special educator and researcher of high-quality inclusive education. But I wasn’t confirming what other adults were telling them. Most often, I was clarifying misconceptions.

Continue reading “The Misconceptions We Reinforce When Talking to Children about Disability, and Solutions”