Authored by: Erin Dixon, Group Home Supervisor
You have likely heard the proverb “give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”
The sentiment behind this proverb is that by teaching a person a skill you give them the tools to recall the skill whenever they choose. You have empowered them with a new ability that they are able to utilize it at will. For the sake of this blog, “fish” will be referencing the emotional, cultural, and environmental skills we learn as children. Our “fish” are respect, love, acceptance, safety, and pride!
At the Pride Center, children are given the opportunity to participate in an inclusive, accepting community. They are able to see in action individuals who love themselves, and share their best selves with the community. They are able to see people standing tall and participate with a community that chooses to live out loud!
In our current society, our children need to know that all people are welcome. They need to feel that all people are valued, and that it is safe to be themselves. They need to be encouraged to be true to their self, and know there are safe places to be. They need to hear our communal voice standing against those who would try to shut them down.
This is the very reason the Pride Center is so important for our children. The Pride Center provides the opportunity for them to see that we do not stand alone, and that our “normal” is just fine! When they are met in the community and/or by cultures in which they are shut down, excluded, ostracized, they need the reinforcement of an accepting community and environment. They need to know their village is alive and well and just as loud as the naysayers! This is what the Pride Center is all about!
When we teach our children to be open and loving, when it is part of their natural fiber, and integrated into their daily lives, we have taught them to fish. It will be a part of their foundation, and they will naturally embrace diversity and meet individuals with open hearts. They will recognize that all individuals deserve respect, and this will emanate from their view of themselves.
So teach them to fish. Teach them to love, themselves and others. Teach them to accept and embrace all types. Teach them to advocate for those who are not ready to advocate for themselves. Teach them that our world is more beautiful when we recognize and shine on all colors in the rainbow. Teach them to value themselves enough to seek out healthy relationships and to walk away from toxins. Teach them to stand tall and to be unafraid. Teach them to embrace and celebrate diversity. Teach them to live with pride in who they are. And with those fish, they will never be hungry!