I have found that adults don't mind lying to you and making you feel good about the things you say and present. They will look you right in your face after you flopped on a speech until you did a good job, but as a former Daycare owner and current Youth Pastor at my church, I can tell you for a fact, kids aren't like that! Young people can be so insightful and wise when they feel safe to share thoughts and feelings on a subject. My 12-year-old son has been really interested in diversity, equity and inclusion over the last few years and asked to read my book DEI Conversations Made Easy, Three Easy Steps To Breakthrough Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Conversations Anywhere, Anytime With Anybody; of course I said yes and loaned him a copy read. After reading the book, and actually going and talking with people in his school, sports, church, family and community groups, he gave what he thought were the biggest take-a-ways, and I am going to gift them to you below. These are his original notes, no frills, no Grammerly, no editing, just raw, real and powerful points that will help take your DEI conversations to the next level:
• Defensive could be good or bad if you make it that way.
• Self-protection is a barrier that prevents us from receiving info the right way.
• Some people come to you with the intent of knocking you down.
• Don't ever run away; avoiding a conversation is the worst thing to do.
• Golden rule: If it's important to one person, then it is important to you too.
• Fear and pride can affect your conversations in a big way.
• When you're talking to someone who knows more about DEI, then don't be jealous of them; you have to learn from them.
• Sometimes making assumptions can be offensive.
• Making generalizations can be offensive.
• Always complement on things that need to be complemented.
• You also have to make the other person feel comfortable.
• The word “I” is powerful. When you share examples that talk about you, you can really impact someone's life.
• ONE THING YOU HAVE TO HAVE IS GRACE. BECAUSE IT IS A GREAT SHOW OF FORGIVENESS AND LOVE.
• NO CANCEL RULE—DON'T CANCEL ANYBODY.
• YOU HAVE TO BE CONFIDENT IN YOURSELF.
• YOU HAVE TO BE ABLE TO FOLLOW UP ON DIFFICULT CONVERSATIONS.