You learn a lot about what you believe about the world when you have kids. The reason is simple, you actually have to state your beliefs and pass them on, because your kids will ask. Then you hear them echoed back to you as your kids in the most surprising moments regurgitate the information (you knowingly or unknowingly) passed on to them.
Long before I had kids, I taught elementary school for a hot minute, and one of my most favorite parts of it was the idea that you can shape kid’s perspectives of history. You can point out where we’ve gone wrong, and how we can rectify it moving forward. As a kid, I had a deep love of history and I wanted other kids to experience that too. So, I bought wayyy more kids’ books than were necessary for my “hot minute” in education, and instead of throwing them away, I saved them for my own children.
So, unlike all the other children that have books about dinosaurs or Disney movies, my kid’s library consists of more than one book on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, Harriet Tubman, civil rights, kid-friendly books on the Holocaust, and other injustices that have gone before.
I’m not saying it’s a bad thing, but when you actually take a school and learning environment out of the equation and you have to tell your own children about the atrocities that have gone on before, it’s a hard day in parenting.
saturday we were talking about why my kids would have off of school
And instantly my 6-year-old said, I know who Martin Luther King Jr. is; he got shot. My 4-year-old, with aghast, asked, “if he actually got killed in real life” and my 6-year-old replied, “yes, in real life.” My 4-year- old proceeded to ask, “why would someone shoot him?” and in a super proud parent moment, my 6-year-old said, “because he used big words.”
I can take no credit for that, except for the fact that I bought the book, “Martin’s Big Words” years ago. But it got me thinking about the ones that are killed or assassinated, the ones attempting to push society forward. And I get it, MLK Jr. wasn’t perfect, for all of his progress, he was puritanical to the core, he was raised in patriarchy and if alive today would probably be considered “old school.” But despite all that, he had a thought, some might even call it a dream, about race and civil rights, that few had been willing to fight for before him and he championed the way.
And it’s an interesting time in history, race wars are in the headlines more today than for several decades before. Trump’s own “old school” ways have empowered sects of people to reignite hate and discord for people who are “other” than oneself, and it saddens me.
But I have yet to despair, because there are two little boys that live in my house, that know nothing about Trump’s immigration policies, that know nothing about racism except that it’s in the past, and today it may not be true, but I have my own dream, that the majority of young millennial parents are raising kind, loving, tolerant humans, that accept people different than themselves with less shame and bullying than has ever gone on before.
it’s better than a dream
I know for a fact that the “people of old will die off”, and my kids, the kids of the future will bring a better tomorrow.
It may not be all peace and bliss.
It may be a little “sci-fi” seeing that my kids will probably have self-driving cars and robots to do their chores.
But it will be a future that is one step further away from the pain and scars of racism, it will be one generation further away from the reality of sexism and gender discrimination.
It will be one generation closer to a people that are more “tolerant” of diversity.
It will be their future and I am glad that it is bright.