Tolerance: The Next Generation

| Related | January 21, 2015

(My eight-year-old daughter and niece are leafing through a catalogue of birthday cakes, when I overhear this conversation.)

Niece: “I really like this cake. Why does it have to be in the ‘boys’ section?”

Daughter: “Yeah. Just because it has a picture of a train doesn’t mean it should be for a boy. I’m a girl and I like trains.”

Niece: “Me, too! It’s like all the pink cakes for girls, with dolls and princesses on them. Why does pink have to be for girls and blue for boys?”

Daughter: “I know; it’s annoying!”

Niece: “It’s like one of my friends. He’s a boy, but he likes pink, and he has long hair. Sometimes he even wears dresses!”

Daughter: “That’s so cool! I like it when people do what they want, instead of what grown ups tell them to do. I mean, why did they make up those rules anyway? I don’t see why boys shouldn’t be allowed to wear dresses!”

Niece: “I know!”

(Later, they are playing with my smartphone and looking at the different emoticons. Some of them represent couples, or parents with a young child.)

Niece: “Hey, look. Why do they have a picture of a mummy and a daddy with a baby, but not two mummies, or two daddies?”

Daughter: “Yeah, that’s annoying. [My Name] says that there are lots of different kinds of families, but the people who drew these pictures don’t understand that.” *pause* “No wait, look! They have a picture of two boys holding hands, and two girls, and a boy and a girl.”

Niece: “Yay! That’s cool. Hey, look at that picture of a dog. It’s so cute…” *keeps scrolling through the emoticons*

(Both of them are also budding environmentalists, and I’ve overheard them talking about how they should send letters to the government to ‘make better rules to protect Hector dolphins.’ They make their mothers so proud.)

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