Every person is an individual and unique. That means every child in your class is different, so there is diversity in your classroom. Some diversity is obvious. Kids in your class have different skin and hair color. Some are tall and some are small. Some might walk through the door, whereas another might roll through in a wheelchair.
You get the idea.
Maybe more importantly, some diversity you cannot see with your eyes. Your classmates may come from different parts of town. Some may be rich, and some may come from families who have a hard time paying bills. Some may have difficulty getting dressed in the morning because their bodies offer different challenges than yours. Still others may celebrate different holidays and eat different foods.
These subtle differences you cannot immediately see might be overlooked if you aren’t curious. And then you lose out not only on making new friends, but also on learning what each classmate has to teach you.
This goes for your whole life. Being curious about getting to know people can help you grow as a person, become a better problem solver, and make the world a better place. In fact, to be the best YOU possible so you can bring your gifts to the world, the success of OTHERS matters. And THEIR success and happiness can be greatly enhanced by YOU!
As an example of how this works, let’s say you’re on a soccer team and one of your teammates hasn’t played much soccer in the past. She’s really numbers smart, but she isn’t a very good soccer player. When she’s on the field, your team doesn’t do very well. On the other hand, playing soccer comes easily for you, and you know you’re an asset to the team.
So you have a choice: You can ignore and even make fun of this teammate who isn’t very good. You can even avoid kicking the ball to her or get angry at her for her inability. Many kids would do that, but would those approaches make your teammate or your team do better?
Instead, what you might do is offer to practice dribbling the ball with her, encourage her efforts, and help her to develop her confidence. That confidence and skill development may help her become a better soccer player, which would make your whole team better, which surely will make you happy!
More importantly, that confidence might help her throughout her life. One day, she might use her math smarts to invent something that helps you or your family, or maybe she will write your favorite song. By helping her develop her confidence and skill, you contributed to her success. In a way, her success is your success, too.
See how this works? We are all connected to one another—which also means that no one is completely alone. But you have to get out of your room and interact with others to really feel this truth!
Another reality is that the more we support one another, the better off we all are. In other words, everyone has a gift to give, a skill to share, and a piece of the puzzle for solving the world’s many problems, for creating a world that works for all. This is something to celebrate! Diversity is something to celebrate!
Neurodiversity on a Grand Scale
Think about this idea on a grand scale. The Earth is home to close to eight billion people. That means the world has almost eight billion unique minds and nearly eight billion ways of thinking that can be used for the good of Mother Earth and humanity.
This is called “neurodiversity,” a word made up of the root neuro (having to do with the nervous system and brain) plus the word diversity (the state of having a wide range of different things). Neurodiversity is one of the strengths of our species. Different brains bring different skillsets that support our survival. And every person has a unique gift to offer to solve a problem or to create an opportunity because of the difference in perspective offered by different brains. Even differently abled brains some may call “disabled” can enrich our lives.
You have likely heard the saying, “Two heads are better than one.” Now imagine eight billion heads working to improve the global and human experience, eight billion minds working to end wars, explore space, arrest and reverse climate change, save endangered species, end poverty, abolish racism, amplify kindness, advance inclusion and sustainability, and so much more.
One of those eight billion minds is YOURS!