I Don’t Want To Have To

I have two sons. They are beautiful in every way. My oldest is a package of wonder and exploration. He loves reading, spelling, has an incredible gift for self-expression and has a tender heart for loving and helping others. My youngest is a bundle of pure, unbridled energy. He likes to go, go, go, go, go. Lol. But he’s also sweet and tender, loves to share with his brother, gives the most precious hugs and kisses and is a sheer blessing. I watch them sometimes. They are carefree in play, thought and laughter. At ages 7 and 3, their only concerns are having fun, doing what Mommy and Daddy say, and not getting in trouble. And that’s all the cares they should have. However, I have the gnawing feeling within myself, that I don’t have long before I am going to have to do something I don’t want to have to ….

You see, my sons are black. That shouldn’t matter. It doesn’t take away from any of the attributes I’ve mentioned about them earlier. They are the apple of my eye and promise for the future. They are special and made in God’s image. I know, of course, that all people in the world won’t see them this way. But it’s even more painful to realize, given recent happenings, especially in Florida, that I am going to have to train my sons in an all new way.

I don’t want to have to look in my young baby’s eyes and tell my oldest that as he approaches double digits, he will have to be conscious of a specific way of conducting himself. And this way has nothing to do with his incredible manners, respect for himself and others, or the many gifts God has given him. It will have to do with the narrow-minded ignorant bigotry of some, the unacceptable availability and acceptability of firearms, and the stench of silence on this issue pervasive in this nation.

Can someone please tell me how to say this to an innocent child? Because I don’t want to have to….

6 thoughts on “I Don’t Want To Have To

  1. My husband and I have begun discussing this as re: our 4yo recently. We’ve answered a few questions from our son so far, leading no further than he was ready to go, but we’ll have to go further than that before long. I don’t want to, but I know I must, because the conversations not had by us will be started by others . . .

    1. Thanks so much for your comment Deborah. You hit the nail on the head. It is imperative to me that I discuss it in the right way, before someone else does … what made you decide to do it at age 4?

      1. Our discussions so far have responded to something our son saw or heard that he then asked us about. I thought we would start discussing these much later, but so far we’re still talking very generally about how sometimes people see what they want or expect to see instead of what is. I wish I could remember more of the specifics, but . . . we have been answering questions as we go, sometimes a lot earlier than anticipated. No words for how sad the need for these conversations makes me.

  2. Thanks so much for sharing, Deborah. That sounds like a wise way to do it … allow your son’s curiosity to lead you. I like the way you are terming it, too. No, no words for how sad it is.

  3. I think it’s a bit different for girls. We started talking to Jordan about black and white issues when she was about 8 years. Clicks where starting to be formed. The black kids said she talk to white and the white kids said she wants to be like them so she found her self in no mans land. A teaching moment was when she went to get her books for a advance class and a teacher told her she was in the wrong line. She had to prove she was in the correct line. I try not to have a judge a race of people but the individuals who try to stop her from achieving her goals.

  4. Julian – it sounds like you and most other parents are taking cues from your child as to when to broach the subject. That’s good advice. I do agree with you, I think it would be different for boys. But my belief is only based on what I see in the world today. On a personal level, I experienced exactly what Jordan went through. It really eroded my self confidence. My desire is to prayerfully guide my boys into being strong, resilient and confident, but not ignorant of how they may be perceived.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>