Winds of Change | How One Mom Is Bridging the Representation Gap Through Play

Words by Miral, owner of Kheloney playroom and shop, who is graciously sponsoring this post.

I told my husband that for my son’s fifth birthday, I would like to take him skiing. He looked incredulous.

“We do not ski,” he said.

“We can learn to ski alongside him,” I answered. I continued to explain my reasoning when he cut me short.

“White people ski,” he said in an icy voice, ending the conversation.

I couldn’t believe what he said. No words came out of my mouth. My husband took my silence as a sign of agreement with his statement. He thought this conversation was over.

“I have already bought the tickets to Vermont, and our ski passes. We are going.” I replied to him dryly. I left the room amidst his protests because I needed time to make sense of his statements. He followed me and protested more, saying that I could not make him go and how skiing is dangerous. He kept throwing half-baked arguments at me; we all know who won this tango. Despite his protests, I kept pushing our family into unknown frontiers, and my husband kept trudging along, albeit begrudgingly. 

But this problem was like an ugly dragon with many heads.

My husband, who went to college in the United States, enjoyed more independence and a stable home than me growing up sheltered in Pakistan. How did he make the conclusions? Where did he learn them? It was not until I discovered home education that I was able to answer these questions.

When I paused my career as a physician, my decision prompted disbelief and disdain from family and colleagues. I realized that it never occurred to anyone that I was fulfilling an obligation and a duty of being my son’s mother. I never gave it a second thought as it was a natural next step. 

I realized years later that my husband’s conclusions were from ignorance. Seeing all types of people and cultures represented in various lifestyles is slowly becoming the norm. However, children can grow into adults with self-limiting beliefs without accurate representation. Thus, continuing the vicious cycle.

The time is now for all of us to recognize the danger of a single story. 

The solution? Representation. I started Kheloney last year to bridge this gap. 

I want children to have access to open-ended play, handiwork, and all things slow, even with the world moving fast. I want them to see a lady in a hijab who paused her medical career to stay at home with her children and opened a play space to serve the children in her community. I want our children to see opportunities in all experiences and not doubt their abilities. I aim to shatter the preconceived notions we hold as adults to free ourselves of self-deprecating narratives. Kheloney is a place of awakening wonder and a reckoning for all of us.

I leave you with a question: 

Are we willing to allow our children to reach new heights by challenging our beliefs, questioning our ideals, and re-evaluating our long-held opinions? Or, do we continue to worship old ideas and sacrifice our children at the altar to honor the ways of our ancestors?

You can see the Kheloney playroom and shop below, and follow Miral’s journey and learn more about Kheloney on YouTube and Instagram.

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