Story 1: Helping Parents Teach Inclusiveness To Their Children
This story is from Tiffany Lundin, one of our foster care caseworkers.
As a resource parent caseworker, part of my responsibilities is to research, write and present trainings that help our approved foster and adoptive parents to be in compliance with their licensing requirements, and to hopefully teach them something useful that they can then employ in their parenting toolbox. We present a variety of topics, from common parenting issues to how to navigate issues specifically affecting the child welfare system.
In March of this year, on Transgender day of visibility, I presented a training on Pronouns for our foster parents. My goal with the training was to impart the importance of respecting youths gender expressions, choice of pronoun usage and to educate the parents on the rainbow of gender expressions and commonly used terms. I employed my own experience as an openly non-binary person and parent of a transgender child.
Last week I received a text message from one of our experienced foster parents who asked me if she could ask for my input on a situation that she experienced with her daughter at a local convenience store. She had attended my training and took me up on the offer to assist with questions if any arose. She had encountered a person whom she did not want to assume the gender of and wanted to show respect to. She asked her daughter to hold the door for the person behind them instead of using gendered terms like “man” or “lady” as she normally would. She was concerned that she had used inappropriate terminology and wanted my opinion so that she could correctly direct her children.
I thanked her and told her that I also use general terms in my language and that how she handled the situation was appropriate. I was incredibly proud of this parent for not only using the training immediately in her parenting and life, but also to have the courage to ask questions and be open to constructive criticism so that she could grow. She admitted that the training had really opened her eyes to a world that she did not realize was there, and she wanted to be sure that she taught her children to be respectful of.
After the interaction it struck me how impactful this exchange was and how my training had impacted her. It is always the hope that when you provide information to others that it will be helpful to their lives in some way. It is rare to witness that impact firsthand, but it is quite special when it happens.
I am now reminded that everything we do to help our families impacts the children we serve. Little gestures of kindness do indeed make the world a better place.