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Monday, January 27, 2014

Overheard on . . . School Applications

“Describe how your family would contribute to a diverse school environment.”

What better day, than the Martine Luther King Jr. Holiday to consider the important topic of diversity. As a family we are in the process of researching and applying for schools as we put our plans in motion for our move to Seattle this summer. The process of applying has been an eye opener for me. For one thing, it is, for the most part, automated. Compared to my last formal school application process (graduate programs for me), the updated process is much more streamlined. But some things don’t change. And even at the middle school level the applications request essays and answers from parent and child.
As a writer, most of my answers flew onto the pages with little need for revision. But when I came to this question I was stumped. How would our seemingly bread and milk family contribute to a diverse school environment.

My husband and I talked about it. We considered our family backgrounds and roots. We laid out all of the ways that we, as a family, may be different than other families. Ultimately, it all ended up sounding contrived and a bit patronizing. How could we suggest that raising an only child compares to the experience of someone who’s encountered racial prejudice?
Eventually it was our daughter that enlightened us. “Mom, don’t you write about journeys?”

It is true, my tagline is Journeys Inspired by Love. My writing is about what I love, physical journeys, yes- but also journeys of the heart and mind. As a family I want us to explore all sorts of ways of living and being so that these journeys are informed by the diversity of an expanded world view, rather than a narrow one.
One way that we do this is through reading. February on Romancing the Genres brings us all a chance to hear from some great Multi-cultural authors including, B.A. Binns, Terri Molina, and ShobhanBantwal. Exploring their perspectives gives us a chance to expand ours, both as writers and as readers. So my challenge to you this week is to search on multi-cultural fiction at your favorite book site and then pick one of the books to read. Then, report back on what you thought of the book and how it did, or didn’t, send you on your own journey of growth.

Bon Voyage!
Deanne
www.deannewilsted.com

3 comments:

Judith Ashley said...

Out of the mouths of our children come truths to pay attention to. And in addition to B.A., Terri, and Shobhan, we have Farrah Rochon joining us on 02/22! It doesn't seem possible that "next month" is in 4 days!!!

Diana McCollum said...

Inspiring blog post! I will try a multi-cultural author next month!

Sarah Raplee said...

Part of the magic of reading is getting to live in someone else's world for a while. Scientific research has shown that, overall, readers tend to be more compassionate and understanding of differences than non-readers.

Your logic makes total sense, Deanne!