She/her, he/him, they/them. Who are we now? You may have asked yourself that question recently as the use of personal pronouns has come to the front lines in social, academic, and even the political arena. You may also have strong opinions on their existence and use. But the answer to the question above, Who are we now? is the same as it has always been. We are human.
We are Human
As humans we all live and breathe the same air. We all experience the same joys: love, laughter, and the comfort of togetherness. We also experience the same tragedies in life: failures, sickness, and loss of a loved one. Regardless of how we refer to ourselves, we will always have these things in common.
As humans we also have uniqueness. After all, no two of us are made alike (just check our DNA!). This uniqueness is important to us. We want to be acknowledged for who we are as individuals; identifiable as unique but also sharing indicators to others of how we relate to the world around us. What style clothing we wear. What activities we love. How we decorate our bodies with jewelry or tattoos. Selecting a personal pronoun does not seem out of the realm of reasonability for our society today, particularly when so much of it is visual and represented online. Personal pronouns seem like just another facet for expressing ourselves.
If you have read down this far in the post, you have probably already formed an opinion on what I’m sharing. Good or bad. The discussion of personal pronouns has turned into a minefield and created some of the most polarizing debates we are having as a society. Whatever your stance is on the use of personal pronouns, the one fact to be aware of is that your kids are likely hearing about them too! It is important to prepare your kids with your perspective rather than let others shape those views for you- pro or con.
We at SimplyFun believe that board game play and play-based discussion activities provide a safe environment to have those kinds of discussions with kids. How many times has your child casually asked a question or shared what a friend or classmate said to them while you are playing a game? They do that because the act of playing a board game feels equal and safe. We can also help those conversations happen through discussion tools like our Chat Rings and games like Wake Up Stars or in the case of personal pronouns our newest game, Shelly’s Pearl (launching in Fall 2022). In Shelly’s Pearl, our main character Shelly the octopus identifies as a they/them. And while the use of personal pronouns is not embedded in the game play, the story line around Shelly provides a platform to open a discussion if you so choose.
Our ask is that you take the time to talk with your kids about meaningful and sometimes difficult topics as a family. As parents, providing information and answers to questions that kids may have helps them alleviate stress and feel more comfortable in the world. Providing a safe environment and even prompts for asking those questions gets you ahead in the game and helps give your child confidence as they navigate in today’s world.