Being a Child in a Diverse Society, by Sarah Khan Rehmani, Grade 6 student

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Because it’s not as easy as a lot of people think. It’s honestly not that simple and easy to keep to your values as a person when you are surrounded by a multicultural society. A society consists of people from a multitude of racial, religious and cultural backgrounds.
A child’s life, from school to bus to playing outside, is sometimes filled with negative influences. It’s filled with people who don’t identify with the values of others’ faith. It’s filled with people who don’t understand the morals and the ethics of a true Canadian society. It’s even sometimes filled with casual discrimination that we often don’t even notice.
After all, we are surrounded by people with different values. Children with different values and styles of life.
Take a moment to imagine—you hug your mother goodbye and run onto a jam-packed school bus. A smile spreads across your face as you greet your friends and classmates, taking a seat.
“I hate my mother,” a girl proclaims, brushing a lock of her blonde hair out of her face. “Don’t you guys?”
Murmurs of assent, murmurs of assent all around you. You stay quiet, looking down at your feet. Because you don’t hate your mother, and you could never say anything like that in a million years.
“What about you?” the girl asks, and you look up at her expectant face quickly.
“Uh… yeah, I guess,” you say quickly. Too quickly. But you can feel the prickings of shame inside you. You would never say anything like that about your mother in school. But you just did.
Now it is recess, and you laugh as you run through the open door into the freezing air. Your classmates follow behind you.
“It’s cold outside!” they yell excitedly. Except that’s not exactly what they say. Because suddenly inappropriate words are spewing from their mouths, flying through the air. A bitter taste rises up inside your mouth.
Finally, they stop, but your heart still pounds with the memory of the words you could never imagine coming out of your mouth. At least the words weren’t directed at you this time.
And then you are inside, sitting comfortably in your chairs and sprawling over desks. A steady hum of conversation surrounds you, and you lean back in your chair comfortably.
But the topic of conversation has switched to something that makes you squirm uneasily.
You focus on your work, trying to block out the sounds around you. Not that easy. The conversation goes on for the next ten minutes, and by then your ears burn a brilliant scarlet with embarrassment.
How long is it going to be until you can’t help but take part in these conversations? Until you slip and say something about your parents on a bad day? Until you can’t help but let those words spill past your lips in a moment of uncontrolled rage? What if these things became habit?
We, children, are a part of this external and internal struggle every day of our lives. The struggle to be accepted with the values we have instead of the values possessed by others. It’s not an easy task, but it’s a responsibility we do our best to uphold nonetheless.
What’s there to do about this? Plenty. Awareness is only a single step. Talk to your children, tell them what to do. Explain what to do in these situations.
Because being a child in a diverse society isn’t as easy as you think!

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