The honest truth is that this has been really hard for me and my family. One side of me gets that this is a very hard time for black people. But then the other side of me thinks, isn’t there a better way? Black businesses are being broken into, Black families are being effected, and local stores and businesses that have been there for the black community are being forced to close.
Not to mention the lasting effects this is having on children in the area. For example my own kids. They are struggling during a time like this. What do they do with their mixed emotions. It’s hard enough already for me to deal with the feelings that I have, i can only imagine how they are feeling.
For the longest time we have tried to teach our children that they are no different than the person next to them That we are all the same. But now more than ever we see that that’s not all true. I know personally that I have to act a certain way when I walk into a room, or walk out of one. I have to talk a certain way, wear my hair slicked back or straight. I know that if I get too upset I will be seen as the angry black woman and not just as angry. So I have to teach my children about this. I have to tell them there are certain expectations that I have for them. And then there are expectations that the world has of them. Raising black boys, is hard!
So what should we be telling our children. Well I created a list of the top four things that I am talking to my children about. Remember that each child is different. Age is a huge factor here. If you have a teenager, young adult, or man that you are aiming, your conversation will most definitely look a lot different than mine. If you have a toddler or a 4 year old, maybe you don’t have to go into grave details just yet. But either way, there needs to be a conversation.
- Jesus will never leave you! This was by far the most important part of the conversation for me. I don’t want my children walk in fear. I also don’t wish them to think they are alone in anything. So I teach them that you are never alone. God is always with you and he can hear you and will talk back if need be. I let them know that if they ever feel like they shouldn’t go to a place or be in a certain room to listen to the voice because that’s the Holy Spirit. I make it clear to them that God is our protector and he will keep us safe.
- I always share the practical. My kids are scared more than ever of someone breaking into our home, of their dad ending up dead, or our home being durned or ruined from looting. So I explain that we have an alarm system. I have showed them how they work, what happens when they go off, and how close we live to the police and fire station. This helps to ease their nerves and give them something practical to hold on it.
- I teach them how I expect them to behave. I expect a lot from my children. And because they are still so young, I don’t expect them to know how to stand up for their rights. And if I am being honest it’s not the time for them to. They hardly know what to believe given all this. I want them to start to come up with their own thoughts on what the world should be like. They are our future leaders and I want them around for the future. So I tell them often to think for themselves and not to follow behind others. I expect them to respect their elders and to come to me if they feel hey are treated unfairly. At their age I am still the person that should be fighting their battles.
- Then lastly I tell that about slavery, police brutality and what it means for us. I teach them that not all police are bad. I explain that you shouldn’t walk around in fear of our community leaders. I explain how slavery has changed the minds of a few people in this country and others on how to treat black people. I also share with them that we pray that these things will change and that if we get it right it will be a different world by the time they have their own children.
I always end our chats with hope. Hope for a better future and a safer tomorrow. I remind them that prayer is the most important part of every day and that they can change the world by talking to God. By no means are my ways the only ones. But hey you have to start somewhere.