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A shelf grid of many Russian nesting dolls

Show Students Who They Could Become by Accepting Their Full Selves

By Justin Minkel

My mom is a play therapist and a miracle worker. Her secret power sounds simple: She absolutely accepts children as they are. Not as their teachers, classmates or parents wish they would be. As they actually are — in all their turbulent, disruptive, exasperating glory.

The children she works with throw rocks, scream in class and bite the other kids. When they throw rocks at her, she says, “You are really strong to be able to throw those rocks so far!” When they scream as loud as they can, she says, “That’s amazing that you can get out all your anger like that. I wish I could do that!”

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Raedean_Greater Expectations

Greater expectations

By Raedean Foote, Youth Frontiers School Relations Representative

“If a child grows up never seeing themselves represented [in the media] as successful or as the hero, then they are the anomaly if they succeed and the expectation if they fail.” – Yara Shahidi

By this standard, society definitely expected that I would fail. To start, I was born to an unwed white mother and a black father, and in the early 80s, being racially mixed didn’t feel “normal.” Aside from my brother, it’s hard to recall other multiracial children in my neighborhood, classroom or even at the grocery store – forget about seeing someone on TV who had the same shade of skin as I did. I grew up in a single-parent household, in subsidized housing, and in the free-and-reduced lunch program. As a kid with my background, it was hard to identify with those society portrayed as successful.
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