Lauren Panzica, a fellow member of Justice Network, sent me a bundle of photos from her various mission trips around the world. As I flipped through them, this one soon filled my screen. Right then my son walked in, a smile in his voice.
“That kid stole my smile! The only difference between him and me is the wood chair. I have a white shirt upstairs. If I had a wooden chair, we’d look exactly the same.“
This, spoken by my blond, hazel-eyed eight-year-old. How precious is that?
(If you don’t remember what my kid look like, you can see a photo here.)
Last week our public schools held a special assembly. My son (who actually looks nothing like the kid pictured above) came home quite upset. The assembly happened during what should have been gym for him.
“And it’s stupid, Mom. We all already know it!”
He actually said “stupid.” Our kids don’t use ‘the S-word’ much. Zach usually only uses it when he’s insanely frustrated with himself or he feels society, as a whole, is wasting his time. His use of it here indicates the extent of his disgust.
“What was the assembly about?”
“You know … respect and kindness … stuff we hear a million times a day. I’d rather play baseball with my friends.”
His friends who come from different types of families. His friends who who create a medley of skin tones and nationalities, languages and faiths.
I discovered later, through a letter from the principle and discussions with other moms, that the assembly was actually about racism.
First, I think these assemblies are more for the parents than they are for the kids. Kids are not natural racists; they learn those attitudes and are taught those prejudices.
Second, I love that my kids don’t see it. I love that they believe “everyone already knows” the value of diversity and the importance of respect and kindness. I love that our church, a collection of over 2000 people,includes every ethnicity and celebrates as one.
I love that my son sees more similarities than differences between himself and an unknown African orphan.
“Here there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all and in all. Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with a heart of mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another, if someone happens to have a complaint against anyone else. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also forgive others. And to all these virtues add love, which is the perfect bond. Let the peace of Christ be in control in your heart (for you were in fact called as one body to this peace), and be thankful.” — Colossians 3:11–15