Representation Matters

By NaaDei

My name is NaaDei and I am an author, freelance writer, graphic designer, and most importantly a mother. Over the years I've developed a passion for advocating for diversity and inclusion in various groups of people, but my true passion lies in advocating for diversity and representation in children's literature, images, media, and education. I consider myself an advocate for diversity and inclusion and my mission is to promote new people, cultures, places, practices, and ways of life that foster a positive self-image and confidence in diverse children.

While there are several things we can do as parents to encourage confidence in our children, I fundamentally believe that promoting diversity and representation is key.

I believe representation is a chance for children to increase their understanding of themselves by seeing themselves in others. It encourages a sense of belonging, security, and acceptance.

By embracing our differences, we can cultivate emotionally stronger children that truly believe they can contribute and value to society.

Media, books and images are used to teach children about life lessons, originality, imagination, morals, friendship, respect for others, and even self-confidence. These lessons often times mimic reality because they expose them to new things, people, cultures, and ideas different from their own. Thus, what they see should reflect a collection of themes, people, cultures, and ideas. But unfortunately, we know for a fact that this isn’t always the case.

When children are frequently shown limited material, there is a risk that these limitations can become part of their own thoughts and views about the world they live in. We need to cultivate the urge to learn about new things in our children, so they become more intrigued, accepting, and empathetic towards those who are different from them.

Children with a healthy level of self-esteem can possess greater coping skills and develop healthy ways to deal with adverse situations. When children see themselves positively, they develop positive ways of thinking about themselves and others which subsequently increases self-esteem as they grow up. These skills follow them through life into adulthood and can help them feel more confident in new environments and situations.

I believe it's never too early or too late to learn to love yourself. All children deserve to be told how great they are, especially children that are not often represented in media, literature, and education. 

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