It is fulfilling to see young children full of joy doing what they love and being their true selves. From small things to their biggest dreams, loving parents always aim to be supportive, but sometimes they get stuck in their own personal aspirations for their children. The parents who are open to understanding and helping their kids develop into the person they want to become are incredibly admirable. Not all parents see things the same way as their children and sometimes they worry about society’s expectations, their culture’s judgments, or possible religious retribution. While this is understandable in some cases, having an open mind and heart-filled conversations with kids, like the book The Boy & The Bindi, can be a way of understanding.
Some children see themselves as different from the gender they are born with and would love to express their gender in a new and diverse way. These scenarios may be just fine for some parents, but may be challenging for others. Gender expression is just one reason why having open and accepting conversations between parents and kids is so important. As young kids learn how to talk about these issues with the people they trust, they will learn how to be true to themselves and handle situations that may not be in alignment with their society, culture, or religion. Big thanks to the author Vivek Shraya for bringing the same message into her picture book entitled, The Boy & the Bindi.
Best Realizations From the Boy & the Bindi Book
In the story of The Boy & The Bindi, there is a young boy who is interested in wearing his mother’s bindi that is traditionally worn by Hindu girls and women. While this may seem uncommon to some, the mother didn’t punish her son. She agrees to do what her son wants and allows him to discover the magic of a bindi.
As adults with knowledge and experience, we have many duties and responsibilities to fulfill in order to help children develop their skills, characteristics, and dreams. To help them achieve their dreams, we must support, listen and talk to them. These important conversations can help children cultivate critical thinking skills and feel valued and understood no matter what gender path they align with. In the book The Boy & The Bindi, both children and adults can learn lessons to strengthen their connection. Here is just some of the wisdom you can gain from this wonderful book:
Understand the importance of discussing gender identity between child and parents.
In regards to gender identity, as well as most issues important to our children, it is important to listen and talk with them without judgment. Just as the mother of the boy did when she discovered that her son wanted to wear a bindi. With open discussion, children will feel safe sharing with you what they are discovering about themselves and their gender.
Children will learn how to express themselves.
Seeing how the young boy gathered the courage to tell his mother what he wanted in The Boy & The Bindi, other children may find the courage to speak their truths.. While it may not be easy, children will learn the process and how to start expressing themselves with this book as an example. This book itself opens up a great opportunity for parents to dialogue with their children.
Children will learn that their dreams are valid.
Regardless of their gender identity, the dreams of young children are valid. Whether or not they feel different from the gender norm, children have always had the right to reach for what they think can help them grow as a person. As long as they are not hurting other people and just being true to themselves, children can prosper, grow, and develop into the best version they can be.
To sum it up, ensuring good conversation and communication within the family can make all the difference. It may be hard or challenging at times, but it is always beneficial. Start a conversation with your kid today with this book, The Boy & The Bindi.
The Boy & the Bindi: get your copy from Bookshop.org or Amazon.com
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More About The Author
Vivek Shraya is an artist whose body of work crosses the boundaries of music, literature, visual art, and film. Her album with Queer Songbook Orchestra, Part‑Time Woman, was included in CBC’s Best Canadian Albums of 2017, and her first book of poetry, even this page is white, won a 2017 Publisher Triangle Award. Her latest book is I’m Afraid of Men. She is one half of the music duo Too Attached and the founder of the publishing imprint VS. Books.
A Polaris Music Prize nominee and four-time Lambda Literary Award finalist, Vivek was a 2016 Pride Toronto Grand Marshal, and has received honours from The Writers’ Trust of Canada and CBC’s Canada Reads. She is currently a director on the board of the Tegan and Sara Foundation and an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Calgary.
“The easy rhyming and vivid colors make this an unforgettable look into Hindu culture.” ―Kirkus Reviews
“Suitable as a gentle introduction to Hindu culture, this simple reflection will complement multicultural collections. The beautiful and detailed illustrations, such as those of Ammi’s traditional dress and jewelry, provide additional cultural context.” ―Booklist
“Shraya’s story defines and affirms important values of Hindu culture — and nudges gender norms, as well.”―Publishers Weekly
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