As I woke up to news of yet another shooting tragedy, I let out a long and pained sigh. I pride myself in writing about chipper things and look for pleasant sources of inspiration – but, today, I saw media saturated with sadness, anguish, confusion, despair. Can’t say that’s what I wanted for breakfast.
Nevertheless, you know we do have to talk about those elephants every so often. I’m still a pretty positive chick, so I first decided to scroll through my pics. Interestingly, I’d forgotten about this one from last week. And then, even amidst feeling distraught, I felt a smile ebbing across my face…but not without a few sobering conclusions.
So I took my three boys to the public library, 8, 10, and 2. The 10 yr. old, my avid reader, gobbles up books in the 600 pgs. realm. My 8 yr old has discovered the joy of chapter books. The last time I took my 2 yr. old to the library, he was a bit smaller and had no idea where he was. But on this day, he was fueled, fast, and furious!
He’s been in school. So he knows what books are. He is reading – according to us. Pictures, which counts. I’m sure…I’m a teacher (smile). But he made me nervous. When he zoomed to the kid’s section, he first ran to a stranger. He’s so quick, I didn’t catch him in time.
My thinking, adversely impacted by all of the swirling things I’ve heard about race combined with my own experiences made me tense up a bit. I thought, “Oh God, he’s bothering them. I hope they don’t get the wrong idea. I hope he doesn’t do anything to that little girl, he’s so rough. They’re white. I hope she’s not offended.”
Can I be honest? I was afraid. Like so many, I’ve had my share of bad experiences. Some, I’d really like to forget. But I’ve had some good experiences, too. And this was one of them. Isaiah figured out, that this lady (whose name I don’t remember) was reading. He ran over to a shelf, deeming himself a helpful assistant, and brought another book for her to share. Her daughter, who I learned was 1, was receptive to the kindness of this stranger. I realized…it was because he spoke human.
I’d be remiss to say every experience is like this, but I do wish it was. Bereft of the strife-filled recollections that I’ve encountered over the years, he didn’t see color; he didn’t see gender; he didn’t see age; he saw – people. People who were reading. People who were doing something that he’d like to do. He saw – an opportunity – to share; befriend; to smile. Don’t you wish we saw things like this…all the time?
Now I know the concept of children being color blind is not a new thing. Actually, that’s not my focal point. It’s something else that I noticed about kids, which many of us are aware of, but perhaps don’t talk about enough. Whether our kids think like this really depends on what they’re taught…wait for it…by the adults. These angry grown ups – of all colors – that stir up a visceral hatred – didn’t morph overnight into intolerant men and women. These ideas were taught, bred, ingrained, seared.
My question for you is, what are you growing in the children you’re impacting every day? Whether parent or non-? Because they hear what you say, but they see who you are. I must say, I was relieved by Isaiah’s act of generosity. When I saw that the stranger wasn’t taken aback, but laughed, I felt o.k. approaching her.
I apologized for his interruption, which she found quite welcoming. She was new to the city and happy for some company. They later crashed the bean-bag section, her 1 and my 3, and I still cringed a little bit – because my boys are rough. Turns out, she had a pretty tough kid herself! They all had a blast.
Food for Thought: So often, we bring our hang-ups into neutral situations, assuming the worst. On countless occasions, we should leave our biases out the door. Reality says, not every experience will be a positive one, because far too many have deepened hatred. However, as we pride ourselves in our cultural differences, let’s not forget to celebrate our oneness. I think we all still bleed the same blood. Let’s not speak hate. Let’s speak human…and teach the language to mastery…
#ispeakhuman, #kidscwhatwedont, #pursueyourpassion, #catchthedreamsofequality, #bethe1whomakesadifference, #thanksisaiah
Picture: Isaiah sharing one of the greatest gifts discovered by moms and teachers everywhere….a book.