I LOVE a good party. Who doesn't? Since having kids, I feel that I'm being pulled in about 1,000 different directions and making time to spend with friends that I love is so much harder than it used to be. That's why I love having a party to get so many of the people I love and care about in one room. Oh, and because there's extra eyes on my kids I don't have to watch them every single second (true confessions here people!).
And having a lot of different people in the room presents a great opportunity for learning from each other while still having fun. Here are a few ways to infuse some diversity into your rocking good time.
Manga! I was so excited when we got to F post in this series. I knew from the very beginning that food would be the focus. I love to eat - it's one of my favorite pastimes. But in addition to eating itself, I also love to share food with others. I love to hear about what others grew up with, what the food culture was in their house, and what foods they enjoyed when they were young. Do this at a party and encourage everyone to bring a treasured food from their culture. You'll end up with quite an assortment, which will be so cool. I'll bet you'll even learn something about one of your friends (Bobby's grandmother was Polish and taught him how to make ridiculously delicious pierogis? Who knew?). Take this opportunity to share food with friends, family, and of course, your kids.
Invite EVERYONE: When I was younger, I used to be very careful and selective of the different friends that I would invite to parties or events. I wanted to make sure that everyone would get along and I sometimes worried that some people would clash with others or one group of friends wouldn't have anything in common with another group. I like to chalk that up to the insecurities of youth - now long gone (the youth part, not the insecurities). As I grew older, I began to realize a few things - that I wanted to hang out with everyone, all at once because having more people around is just more fun! It's also a great way to learn new things. Different groups of friends tend to bring different ideas, perspectives, and worldviews to the table. What a cool and fun way to increase diversity awareness! Oh, and one more thing, your friends all have at least one thing in common - you! So no matter how different people may seem, there are always commonalities. What a fantastic lesson for you and your kids.
Encourage Friends of Friends: This is one of my favorite ways to meet new people. You know cool people right? And they know cool people. So why don't we all get together and meet more cool people? Let your friends know that inviting others that they know is not just ok, it's highly encouraged. They may just bring someone that you've never met before from a particular culture. Or maybe they are from an area that you are not familiar with. It gives you an opportunity to learn something new and model inclusiveness for your kids. Then when you hit it off, your circle expands, as does your cultural and diversity knowledge and awareness. Oh, and you made a new friend in the process!
I hope you enjoyed this post and it made you think about how to throw a bigger and better party this year (before barbeque season is over). I hope you'll check back next week for letter Q. Any guesses as to what it might be about (hint hint)? Sign up for the newsletter so you don't have to remember to find out. It will all be delivered to your inbox along with more tips and strategies. Sign up today!
Dr. Sweeney is a licensed school psychologist and cultural competence expert. Here are her musings on life in a multicultural world.
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