In my daughter’s three-and-a-half years on the planet, there has been no reason to explain to her that human beings come in all shapes and sizes. Until recently, we haven’t had to instil the message that we are all unique and deserve respect and recognition no matter what we look like.
But I have always wondered when that inevitable point will arrive.
I have heard stories about children who, in supermarket queues, have asked their parents why the man in front has a large belly or why that lady is sitting in a moving chair with big round wheels.
These situations sometimes cause an awkward moment. Of course they are inevitable because children have very curious minds.
I’m hoping my daughters are being brought up to see everybody as equal, although it does concern me that as they grow older they might read magazines or watch programmes that encourage them to be a certain way.
There have been many arguments about the influence of children’s/teen magazines and how they promote the idea that all women should be slim with immaculate skin, perfect hair and flawless make-up.
Of course I have quite a while to go before my daughters are reading these sorts of magazines and hopefully when the time comes, the way they have been brought up will ensure they are comfortable in their own skin.
But Caitlin is now at an age where she is noticing the differences bet-ween herself and others around her and the questions have now started.
No comments at the checkout about the person in front of us in the queue but instead at home when watching the pre-school TV channel CBeebies.
There is a presenter on the channel called Cerrie Burnell who was born with one hand.
Of course I have noticed this before but never felt the need to point this out to Caitlin and Caitlin has never pointed it out to me, until recently.
After seeing this presenter on TV many times, last week she suddenly noticed and asked: ‘Daddy where has that lady’s hand gone?’
I felt a weight of responsibility as my response there and then would shape how Caitlin thought of disability and possibly how she would treat and react to people with a disability in the future.
I simply, in a matter-of-fact kind of way, explained to her that some people have two hands and some people have one hand. She accepted my answer and continued to watch the television programme.
Disability groups have applauded the BBC for employing Cerrie and I agree. As a parent it creates the perfect opportunity to teach my children about diversity and for them to grow up knowing that everyone is different.