Helping a Teen Fight Prejudice

Focus on the greatest commandment of all.

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Posted in , Dec 17, 2014

Help your teen fight prejudice. Photo from 123RF(r).

Years ago, I became friends with someone who only had a few friends outside of her profession. She was different. She loved wildlife and would spend her money planting trees.

I guess from a worldly perspective, she wasn’t attractive because  people had mean nicknames for her. I remember someone asking me, “Why do you hang out with her?” Really? I thought.

Help your teen fight prejudice. Photo from 123RF(r).I just shook my head and realized that a lot of people were missing out on a true friend by not taking the time to get to know her. She died a few years later from a severe asthmatic attack. I was sad, but I had great comfort in knowing that I hadn’t missed out on being part of the life of someone so amazing.

Differences and prejudice still exist, even though we tell ourselves as a society that we’re respectful of all people.

It doesn’t matter what your income is, what color your skin is, what nationality you are, or how far you’ve made it up the academic or professional ladder. Prejudice and hate continue to live in our world.

Teens are also susceptible to thoughts of prejudice. It usually centers around academics, religion, disabilities, sports or, just like my friend, because someone is different.

Does your teen daughter or granddaughter face prejudice or hate? What can you do to help her?

  • Encourage her to stay focused on her strengths and talents. When she is successful and confident in the things that she loves, she won’t put a lot of weight in what others say about her.

  • Remind her that she is one of a kind and unique. God gave her gifts and talents that only she can share with the world.

  • Remind her that others are missing out on who she is when they exhibit prejudicial behavior.

  • Be her role model. How do you act towards others who are different? What do you say about others of different races, religions or lifestyle? Your actions and words influence her views toward others.

  • Encourage cultural diversity with your teen. Avoid stereotypic comments about others who are not like you. Speak out against jokes that are the target of specific groups or people. Consider hosting a student from a different country.

  • Remind her she can make lifetime friends with those who are different.

What is the greatest commandment? Jesus tells us in Matthew 22:39. "Love your neighbor as yourself."

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