Dear Anyone who is Raising a Child,
We have the chance to stop racism in its tracks in the raising of our children.
Please do not brush it under the rug, and don’t pretend it doesn’t exist.
It stares us in the face every day.
For some of us, we have the privilege to pretend it doesn’t exist, for others it truly does affect them every day. For those of us who have the privilege of pretending it doesn’t exist, it’s time to disown that privilege and speak out against the silence, and speak out against the hate. Silence begets ignorance in our children. We can’t only read stories set during the Civil Rights movement or set on the Underground Railroad and talk about racism and prejudice and hate as something of the past. Yes, please read those stories, because they bring about change and new perspectives, but also recognize that racism and prejudice and hate have persisted. We see it in the news, we see it on our streets. We see it in Charlottesville.
Real Talk with your Children
Oh, please talk about it with your children. Something I did with my daughter last year was watch live feeds out of Standing Rock, and talk with her about how racism and oppression of Native Americans did not end during the times of the Trail of Tears, no, they persist today.
We’ve got to pay attention.
In our studies of history and family history, we must recognize our connections to the people of the past, how history is fluid and continuous, that humanity’s problems “back then” are still humanity’s problems today.
Listen First, then Speak Out
We have to have these real talks with our kids. Teach your children to listen and to love. This is why stories are so powerful - when we listen to each other's stories, we learn about different walks of life and different experiences, and then how we are so similar to each other in our hearts. We learn to empathize.
We have two ears and one mouth for a reason: listen up. Share stories of kids and families from all walks of life with your kids. Listen to the stories of your neighbors, listen to stories of the past as well as those of today. Listening to each other's stories changes the world.
Stories change the world. Listen first, and then speak out against hate.
Teach our kids to interrupt hate and wage peace and love.
“Blessed are the peacemakers.” – Jesus Christ, Prince of Peace