Thursday, July 18, 2013

Impressionable Hearts

When I was little, my mother took me to restaurants and water fountains in her hometown in Alabama that she remembered having a "white only" sign.  She told me stories of what segregation looked like when she was a little girl.  She talked to me about things that seemed to have happened a million years in the past in my young, naive mind.  Her talks made an impression in my young mind and on my heart.  

In the aftermath of the Zimmerman verdict--the outrage and heartache of so many--my first reaction was to protect my kids from the news and keep them in their bubble. And what could I say?  I'm a white woman, what can I really tell my sons?  But then I remembered my mother talking to me when I was much younger than my oldest son (who is 11).  Those talks that made that impression on my heart.  I wanted to do something like that for my son.  

Then I read my friend's Facebook post and I was so moved.  And I let my son read it and then we talked about injustice, prejudice, struggle, confusion, hate and love.

I'm sharing it with you (with my friend's gracious permission), because we all know it's not just the kids that need to hear important talks about racial injustice and prejudice.  I'm having trouble wrapping my brain around all of the hate and prejudice that exists in the world.  But I know that I will have the important talks to make impressions on my kids' hearts.  So that they will be more compassionate, empathetic and fight for good in the world.  So that they will be outraged at prejudice and know they need to have as many talks with as many people as they can until there is a change. 

Here's the very important and eye-opening story from my friend Geoff Walker.  I grew up with Geoff in the same elementary, middle and high schools.  I knew about some of the things that went on in his story, but so much of it surprised me.  I am so grateful for social media which made it possible for me to read his story and now share it.  I hope it opens eyes, minds and hearts and inspires talks with your children and your friends.

For more insight into this discussion, Kristen at Rage Against the Minivan and Rebecca at Girls Gone Child are starting some really good conversations.  Please let me know what you think in the comments.  How do you talk to your kids about race?

1 comment:

  1. This is powerful. Thank you for sharing.

    I wrote a post on Thursday that echoes your sentiment, of what can I do? How can I even comprehend this being white? I think we do just what we did. We write anyway. We share the stories of our friends. We teach our children. And we hope and pray for a better world.