Black and White, or Maybe It’s Gray

Sigh

“Mommy what’s wrong?”

“Nothing sweetie.  Why?”

“I heard you go like this (heavy breath)”

“Oh, mommy was just frustrated on what she was hearing on the radio.”

“What?  What happened?”

 Ugh, how do I explain this to him.

“Remember how you learned in school about Dr. King and all the things that he did?  What do you remember from that?”

“He was a man who said he we are all the same in the inside even if we looked different on the outside.”

“Right.  What does the mean to you?”

“That you should be friends with everyone and be nice no matter what a person looks like.”

“Right.  Well besides the color of a person’s skin there are a lot of things that makes people different.  Some people speak different languages.  You know how you are learning Spanish and sign language in school, some people speak that way all the time.  There are different religions.  You know how we go to church and learn about God and Jesus.”

“Yes! Jesus just had his birthday at Christmas.”

“Right.  Some people believe different things.  Mommy’s best friend growing up was from Pakistan and she practiced a religion called Islam.”

“What makes her religion different?”

“Well actually there are a lot of similarities, but I guess one of the biggest differences is we believe Jesus was the son of God, whereas she believed he was not.”

“Ok”

“Am I confusing you?”

“Kind of.  What does it matter if they are different?”

“Well that’s the point it doesn’t matter if we are different.  People in our country speak different languages, practice different religions, and are from different places in the world.  However, there is one thing that can make people different that our country does not accept.”

“What’s that?”

“Umm, ok if I confuse you please stop me.  You know how mommy and daddy are married?”

“Yes”

“Well I didn’t always know daddy.  I didn’t meet him until I was 19 years old, but we became friends, we fell in love, and eventually got married.   However, I have always known grandma and grandpa and I have always loved them very much, but it’s a different kind of love, but it is love just the same. “

“Ok”

“Well there are people who say that some kinds of love are wrong and should not be permitted.”

“But if it’s love, how can that be wrong?”

“Liam, from your lips to God’s ears.”

“Huh?”

“Never mind it’s a saying.  But you are right Liam and that is why mommy sighed.  She is sad that our country is trying to tell some people that their love is wrong?”

“And then they couldn’t get married!?!?!  Mommy I love weddings.”

differences

“I know you do. I want you to remember something, just because you don’t agree with something, doesn’t mean it’s wrong.  Just because it might not be in your beliefs it doesn’t mean others shouldn’t be allowed to do it.  Growing up sometimes mommy would have what I like to call healthy debates with grandma and grandpa.  Sometimes I learned something and it made me think about it in a different way, but sometimes I just didn’t agree with them.  Do you know what grandma and grandpa did?”

“No what?”

“Nothing.  They never told me I was wrong.  They never told me to change my mind.  I never got in trouble for it.  They let me form my own opinion.  Sometimes we agreed, sometimes we didn’t.   I want you to remember that too.  You are allowed to think and believe whatever you like as long as you are not hurting anyone else. Capeesh?”

“Capeesh.  Mommy?”

“Yes Liam.”

“Can you put on “Uptown Girl?”

“Yes Liam.”

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I Hate the Word Hate

I read an article this morning regarding the Westboro Baptist Church holding a protest at the Wilson High School in Washington DC regarding the new principal being gay.  As I read the article and looked at the pictures that went along with it many thoughts came to mind for me.

First of all, no matter what side you stand on in this issue there is something extremely upsetting about children holding signs that use the word hate in it.  HATE.  The Merriam-Webster defines the word hate as:

a :  intense hostility and aversion usually deriving from fear, anger, or sense of injury

b:  extreme dislike or antipathy :  loathing <had a great hate of hard work>

Do kids really hate?  Or do we teach them to hate things?  Liam doesn’t have in his vocabulary the word hate.  I do not use that word nor do I like that word.  However he has told me he doesn’t like tomatoes .  He came to this on his own by trying it (an educated opinion).  On the other hand Liam has also told me he doesn’t like pork chops (which I have never made because I do not like them).  Since Liam has never tried it before I have to assume his aversion to them is because he heard me say I do not like them (a bias opinion).  I can’t help but wonder if these children “hate” a certain sect of people or is it because that is what they have heard so much.  There is something to be said in regards to the saying, “Little pitchers have big ears.”  So much of our children’s reactions and feelings about things are learned from watching how we respond to things.

I really really dislike snakes.  I am scared of them.  However, I have run into the situation twice now while on walks that we came across one.  I don’t want to teach Liam and Ava this fear, so as calmly as I could muster I let Liam and Ava take a look.  We are shaped by our surroundings and the experiences we have.  Without getting into a religious debate because that is not the point of this post, I can’t help but come to the conclusion hate is learned and is that not the opposite of what any religion would want?

I guess my whole point to this is we really need to be cognizant of the message that we are sending our children.  Without throwing out too many cliché lines, our future is based on the children of today and I for one would rather live in a future of tolerance and love than prejudice and hatred.