Kids notice everything, don’t they?
The bugs on the ground. The planes in the sky. The fuzz on the carpet.
While grocery shopping with Jack, he asked me if a lady in the produce section had a baby in her belly, to which I replied, “No she doesn’t, so do not ask!” (She was probably 60-years-old.)
Yesterday at the gym, my kids and I were walking toward the locker room, chatting with a woman wearing a hijab—a traditional headscarf/covering. “Why does she wear that blanket on her head?” Hallie whispered into my ear. I explained that, just like she sometimes wears a hat, different people and different cultures do different things. “It’s pretty,” Hallie said loud enough for the woman to hear, who flashed her an understanding smile.
Last week at the pool, Jack swam into my arms and grabbed my face with his squishy hands. “Mama, why doesn’t she have any hair?” he asked, pointing to a little girl with a smooth head, blue eyes, and bright pink goggles. “I thought girls are supposed to have hair,” he continued, obviously concerned. His question sparked a quick-but-important conversation about how each person is going through something different, but each person is beautiful—exactly how they are.
While driving home, I asked them to tell me about all the ways God made people unique. Unique faces, unique fingerprints, and—as Hallie informed me—even unique tongue prints. Red hair, brown hair, black hair, blonde hair, gray hair. Green eyes, brown eyes, blue eyes, hazel eyes. Curly hair, straight hair, long hair, short hair. White skin, tan skin, and “chocolate” skin, as Jack described, probably because we always gush over his chocolatey eyes.
“People are really colorful,” Hallie announced, as though she were proud of God for His artwork.
“That’s right,” I agreed with her. “God made all the colors.”
Just as a rainbow is breathtaking because of it’s brilliant assortment, so is the human race. We were all made in God’s image, which should reveal a sliver of the richness and diverseness of His being.
We marvel at the thousands of variations of flowers in the world, and we should be doing that with each other too. We can celebrate the vibrant medley that is us.
But our country is bleeding right now, and we can’t ignore it. There’s hate and racism and bigotry and violence and ignorance and pride. But neither retailiation nor silence will not heal a wound that’s remained open for years and decades. It will take real love…
“This is real love—not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love one another.” (1 John 4:10-11)
The truth is: none of us had a choice in where were born or what we look like. So how can any of us think we’re better than somebody else?
To be honest, my perspective is quite limited—but it’s growing. I’m a white girl who grew up in a predominately white neighborhood, playing with white Barbie’s and braiding my white hair and eating white bread. I confess that I’ve lived a good portion of my life oblivious of the tensions that pepper our nation. But now is what matters. And I’m determined to listen, to learn, and to intentionally dig up/destroy any seeds of prejudice inside of my own heart.
Will you join me?
I realize there will come a day when my children will know more—about a painful past and the currently piercing present. A day when they ask more questions, which will ignite more crucial conversations about their part to play in justice, love, and equality.
But for now? There’s something sacred about a local playground in the middle of a city. Kids notice everything, but they also accept everyone. Kids aren’t hesitant about who they chase down the slide or push on the tire swing—which is exactly how it should be. Play is universal; laughter multicultural.
Color matters, because it portrays God more fully. Color also doesn’t matter, because outward appearance has nothing to do with our souls.
“Yes indeed, it is good when you obey the royal law as found in the Scriptures: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ But if you favor some people over others, you are committing a sin. You are guilty of breaking the law.” (James 2:8-9)
I asked one of my best friends what she wishes misinformed white people knew, and this was her response:
“I wish everyone knew that black people are the EXACT SAME as white people—with just a little more melanin. We don’t want to be lumped into stereotypical categories. All black women are not angry and all black people are not athletes. (For the record, we also do not have an extra muscle that makes us better at sports.) We want our strong black features to be celebrated as beautiful! We want to be treated equally, we want to matter, and we want to be valued—just like you.” LaTonya Pratt [Jesus follower, wife, mama to three boys, #girlboss]
Change starts with us and it starts at home—in our living rooms and around our tables. As we notice our differences, we have the choice to criticize, to remain silent, or to celebrate.
I think we could learn a lesson from the end of the Best Book Ever—a peek into what will be:
“After this I saw a vast crowd, too great to count, from every nation and tribe and people and language, standing in front of the throne and before the Lamb. They were clothed in white robes and held palm branches in their hands. And they were shouting with a great roar, ‘Salvation comes from our God who sits on the throne and from the Lamb!’” (Revelation 7:9-10)
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to miss the party.