The Impact Of Early Education – A Foster Family Perspective
Diversiti UK are delighted to announce a new member of the team – Alisha Kemp – who will be helping to spread the word about all the positive work we do for the community and businesses. Read her first blog here, celebrating diversity from a personal viewpoint – that of a foster family.
Diversity – The Impact Of Early Education From A Foster Family Perspective
From a young age I used to build things with my dad. I loved watching, learning and seeing how to overcome obstacles, and as stubborn as my dad was, how to never give up. He had every tool in his Mary Poppins garage, over 8 different saws. ‘Why so many?’ I asked one day, did he just like buying more for his ego? He explained that every saw may look similar, but they each work with different materials more efficiently than the rest. Each of them have a specific job, some more expensive than others, but all equally as important to the task. Having all of them meant he could always finish a job to the best of his ability. We don’t know what kind of problems that could happen, which tools we need. If we can appreciate the tool’s individuality of doing a good job, why can’t we celebrate people’s?
My parents fostered throughout my younger life, over 100 children in fact. The children came from all different backgrounds, ages, genders and ethnicities. Why you may ask? Well it wasn’t for the 20p per hour it was working out to be back in 1998. ‘Well, as a family, we felt we had so much to offer those who had nothing or very little. We had more love to give.’ This is the environment I was lucky enough to be raised in, healthy, happy and safe. I had learnt how to acknowledge different routines of those from a different background.
My parents are very open minded and didn’t follow any particular religion of their own, but those who practiced that came to stay with us, were made to feel comfortable. We played an active part in understanding what the religion entails, their beliefs and morals. It was educational and interesting learning that so many different people exist. From people on the Autistic spectrum, to those with physical, emotional and neurological disabilities.
Dinner time quite often was chaotic and messy, but the memories of shared stories and laughter I will treasure forever. The youngest child we fostered was a 6 month old girl with limited mobility, we heard her first words and celebrated together. The eldest was 17 year old who had the option to live with our family or become a tenant of a local prison. He had the biggest impact on my life. I have never heard so many bad words come out of someone’s mouth, so much anger, emotional trauma. At the age of 6 I loved his fiery hair, as we reached the doors of Tesco (our first family food shop), I grabbed his hand and told my mum “I’m taking my new brother to the sweetie aisle”. Still to this day he is my brother, he is in his 30s with a partner and children of his own. Something nobody could have pictured when he was 17.
It’s not that I ever ignored that these children had their boundaries or barriers. I acknowledged them with a ‘how could I do better’ attitude which has continued throughout my life and career. Everybody deserves a chance to be heard, and diversity shouldn’t be hidden but rather shared and celebrated.
In my heart I wish every family could have the experience of fostering a child. I understand that not everyone is in a position to do so, but the benefits are endless. Not only are you making a huge impact on a child’s life, you become culturally aware and understand behaviours better. It teaches you patience for others who are different, being respectful and accepting. Early education like this would keep the world on track to becoming more Inclusive and Diverse. Diversity is everywhere, it’s nothing to be scared of.
Being raised by open minded parents and siblings is not something every family appreciates or feels a need for. It can pose challenges, but it makes us realise unless you wish to live in a constant conflict with the world you must become more diverse. It’s in our day-to-day life, unavoidable and I am glad to see companies start making the appropriate changes in this forever evolving world. Allowing yourself to realise that the stigma of everything being as simple as black and white is outdated, it no longer works to be set in your ways, as changes are happening and we all need to be on board. Diversity offers a lesson in removing the distance we have created between ourselves and those who are different through stigmas, stereotypes and sometimes complete ignorance. If we accept the fact that not everyone can be put in the same box, the more we open our minds to the true potential within ourselves, careers, businesses and opportunities.
Not only can we become better people, but we can change the way the world thinks.
Now wouldn’t that be a part of history you would want to be involved in?
Do better. Do Diversity.