For over a week, we've spent so much of our time educating ourselves, speaking out, protesting and spreading knowledge throughout social media and our communities in opposition of the pervasiveness of brutality and the intergenerational marks of racism in this country. So many of us are feeling overwhelmed by our new found knowledge, realization that we may have undertones biases we weren't aware of, how to become an Ally, how to help our Allys and honestly, how to help ourselves. We're all searching for the right thing to do and for the right words to say as we approach these very important conversations and steps towards change. But I want to strongly encourage us to include our children in our journey for change.
Ya'll, if we spend all our time educating ourselves, but avoid including our children in our developmental process, we are neglecting our personal opportunity and responsibility to shape our own future.
Hiding our children from reality is not helpful nor does it protect them; if anything, it leaves them unprepared and an unprepared person is an unsuccessful person. Our children are more resilient than we sometimes give them credit for. If they are old enough to notice and formulate questions, they are old enough for truthful answers that are appropriate for their level of maturity.
Scripture teaches us to teach our children.
" Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it." - Proverbs 22:6
We're all familiar with this scripture, but it's not just about scripture; it's about life. Yes, we should be training our children in the love and mercy and grace of God. We should be instructing them on how to live their lives in service of the Lord, but if we avoid teaching them about how to love their neighbors as themselves, we are doing a great injustice in our very own homes because anti-racism starts in the home. Developing our children's voices and worth and value starts in our homes.
I have heard people in the Christian community make comments that what is currently happening in our country should not be discussed around their children; that above all else, we must protect their innocence. And while I do strongly believe in protecting the purity and innocence of our children, I want to urge us all to not mistake ignorance for innocence.
Our children live in this world. They will grow up in this world. They will come across people, places and situations in this world, so it is our God-given responsibility to prepare them for this world. This doesn't mean that we should drop them off in the middle of society and pray they don't sink. What it does mean is that, in a loving and Spirit led way, we should take advantage of teachable moments to not only cultivate their minds, but also their hearts. If not us, then who? If not now, then when? We mustn't let fear, our own insecurities or uncomforted to stand in the way of shaping our children so that they can be true lights in the world.
Tell the truth, mom. Turning off the TV is easy. Changing the subject is easy. But I want to continue to place before us that we have not been called to be easy women. We have been called to be valiant women who's hearts are ablaze for the glory of God and for the love of our fellow man. We have been called to be lights in the darkness and to raise future lights in this present darkness. Step up. Speak out. Model for your children. Inform them, support them and prepare them.
"My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth." - 1 John 3:18
Below is a list of ideas to implement as you mold an anti-racist home and culturally relevant children. They help us embrace the wealth of knowledge spilling out of formal and informal systems to educate each other toward a more inclusive future.
1) Surround your children in other cultures. Go the extra mile to do so in real time, not just through TV. Give your kids person-to-person interactions.
-Attend diversity parades in your city
-Participate in diversity programs in the library
2) Teach them REAL history instead of relying on the school system. We all know that our classrooms don't go deep into history of diversity peoples.
3) Don't just "know" people of color, get to know them on a personal level. This requires extending invitations to build real life experiences. Plan some play dates or family lunches/dinners to broaden your community and grow your empathy.
Books to include in your home library
For Young Children
Skin Like Mine
I am Enough
When God Made You
Full, Full, Full of Love
I Declare (Declarations for Boys)
Black Women in Science
Of Thee I Sing
Mary Had a Little Glam
Dancing in the Wings
Henry's Freedom Box
Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt
For Pre-Teens/ Young Adults
Young Gifted and Black: 52 Heroes of Past and Present
Calling My Name
Letters to Young Brothers
What was the Underground Railroad
Civil Rights/ Then and Now
Many Thousand Gone
The Color of Law
White Awake: An Honest Look at what it means to be White in America
The New Jim Crow
White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism
Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria
Stamped From the Beginning
100 African Americans who Shaped American History
African Americans You Should Know About
George Washington Carver
W.E.B. Du Bois
Booker T. Washington
*A List of Famous Black Authors and Poets