Diversity & Commonality

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See also “Respect” Postings

Love One Another

Friend October 2019 “Loving Others as Jesus Loves Us” We should love others and live peacefully with others even if they don’t believe the same things we do or are different from us. We can do this be being kind to people who are different, show respect for their beliefs, never bully or insult anyone, etc. Activity: Make a Friendship Chain! When you do one of the activities, add that strip to your chain, plus another colored one. Add your own activity to the blank strip. Activities include asking someone who speaks another language how to say “hello” in their language, asking a friend to teach you about a tradition in their family, religion, or culture, etc.

 

 

 

 

Ensign July 2019 “Five Truths for Loving Those Who Believe Differently”

As our children grow up in a diverse world, it’s important that we teach them to peacefully coexist with people who have different backgrounds, ideals, and lifestyles.

1. Many good people believe differently. The fact that someone believes or behaves differently than we do doesn’t necessarily mean they’re bad. Most people are trying their best to follow what they believe is right. If your children are wondering why a person is making choices that we know are wrong, explain that not everyone has the same gospel understanding we have. Discussion: Who are some people we know outside the Church? What good things are they doing? Why is it important to look for the good in others?

2. We should respect people’s agency.  Agency is “the ability and privilege God gives people to choose and to act for themselves.”1 It is a right that we chose to preserve in premortality and that we must continue to protect now, for us and for others. Therefore, we should respect other people’s right to choose, even when their choices are different from our own. Discussion: What are some daily decisions that we each make? (Examples: wardrobe, food, playtime.) What are the consequences of these decisions? How would we feel if we lost that agency?

3. God loves all of His children. Every person is a beloved child of God, and “all are alike unto [Him]” (2 Nephi 26:33). Just as God “esteemeth all flesh in one” (1 Nephi 17:35), we should treat others with equal love and respect. Discussion: Think of a friend not of our faith. Name five similarities we share. Why should we focus on similarities more than differences? What evidence do we see of God’s love for those who believe differently?

4. Kindness is not condoning. People may worry that supporting a person who doesn’t live according to gospel teachings means advocating a lifestyle they don’t agree with. But you can love someone without approving of that person’s choices. The Lord commanded, “Love one another, as I have loved you” (John 15:12) and “Love thy neighbour as thyself” (Matthew 22:39). Love will never be the wrong way to treat someone. Discussion: Think of a friend at school who’s different. How can you reach out in kindness, friendship, and love?

5. We can be good examples without making people feel bad. In our interactions with others, we should take extra care to communicate love and inclusion. We should never make someone feel like they don’t belong. Discussion: How can we make others feel welcomed instead of judged or excluded? How can we be an example? Try role-playing different situations, responding in a Christlike way.

 

Quote to Share

“Our message to others about our faith should always be, ‘I love it. I want to live it. I invite everyone to come and see. If you want to join me, that is wonderful. But if you choose to live differently, I can accept that. I love you no matter what.’”Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Unity

Friend October 2018 “Different but the Same” President Eyring explains that we can be united despite our differences. We do this by finding common ground, remembering we are all children of God, and by speaking kindly of others.

Activity: Look up the scripture and fill in the missing word, and write down other things you can do to practice unity using the letters that spell unity.

 

Focus on Commonalities

Friend July 2018 “Matt and Mandy” Matt reads an email from his cousin in Australia and is a little confused by some of the words, but’s he finds that they have the most important things in common.

Ensign January 2018 “Dealing with Differences” What to say to children when they notice differences in others. For example: focus on what people have in common

Religious Diversity

Friend July 2019 “Friends and Other Faiths” Henry and his family visit a Sikh temple to to experience other forms of worship for a scout activity. The worship was very different from the way Henry and his family worship, but the people were wonderful, and Henry and his family even got invited to eat food with them afterwards. Henry was so happy to get to know them and he wants to go back sometime.

 

 

 

 

Friend October 2018 “Liam’s Friends” Liam has lots of friends who are members of other churches, but they still have lots of things in common and have fun playing together.

 

 

 

 

Friend October 2018 “Praying with Paul” When Hunter had dinner at Paul’s house, Paul’s family made the sign of the cross and then held hands while praying. Hunter wondered why it was so different from how he and his family prayed. Hunter’s mom later explained that Paul and his family were probably Catholic, and she pointed out that they also believed in Jesus and had other similarities. (“Many people around the world pray in different ways. Heavenly Father loves all of His children and hears and answers their prayers.” Friend Oct. 2018)

 

 

 

 

Ensign June 2018  “Creating a Culture of Inclusion” “In Japan, we’ve visited Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines, and we always tell our children that these are sacred places to others, just like our church buildings and temples are to us. We teach them that people in other religions believe other things and that it’s great that, like us, they are trying to be better people.” Cassidy Larsen

Avoid Generalizations

When children make broad claims (like “boys are good at music”) or assumptions about race or religion, you can say, “Oh, who are you thinking of?” They most likely have someone in mind, and you can talk about the specific incident and explain that broad claims aren’t accurate.
Help children focus on specifics. For example, instead of declaring, “Girls can do anything,” try “You can do anything.” When we focus on generalizations (even positive or neutral ones), we teach children that being part of a group determines who you are and what you can do.

Not Alike, but Friends

Friend July 2019 “The Perfect Match” Maggie loved to match things. When she saw a blond girl sitting sadly alone, she tried to friendship her with a friend that was also blond. Later, her father asked Maggie why she didn’t play with Anna. Then he reminded her that we need to love others as Jesus did, and that it didn’t matter whether we looked the same or thought in the the same ways.

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