It’s hard to overstate how much more important it is for our children to have an understanding of the realities of racism and the ways in which we must change.
There’s a lot of work that needs to be done, but that’s also true of any topic, no matter how controversial or difficult it is.
I have heard so many parents say, “My kid is too busy.”
That’s because they don’t have time to actually work through it.
But the work they’re doing is vital to our kids, and they’ll never know how much it will mean if they have to confront this issue.
When my oldest daughter asked me to write a note for her last year of school, I was a little overwhelmed.
We had two kids enrolled at the time, so I had no idea what to write.
I thought, If she’s a good student, she’ll have no trouble getting a grade that will help her qualify for the school’s scholarship.
But she did not.
We’re not used to being challenged in a way that we would expect a child to be, and it was clear that we weren’t ready for it.
We tried to take her to school on Tuesday morning and asked her to get out and talk to me, but she was not interested.
So I started writing a note on a napkin.
She read it, smiled, and said, “Oh, that’s pretty cool.
I was going to say, ‘Oh, I’m glad you asked me, because it was really easy.'”
That’s when I realized how important it was for her to have her first conversation with someone from outside the classroom.
I wrote that note and wrote back: “I was just so worried.
Can you give me some advice on how to make it easier for your kid to talk about race in a meaningful way?”
And she said, No, it’s hard.
There are so many obstacles.
For one, it doesn’t feel good to talk too openly about race.
I know that sounds ridiculous, but sometimes it’s a struggle for me to say anything, even just to get my child to sit still for a few minutes.
It makes me feel like I’m being disrespectful or ungrateful.
And I think that’s okay.
We all have our own personal challenges and obstacles, and I think it’s great for kids to understand that.
When I wrote the note, I did so with the understanding that I was asking my daughter to get up and talk about her experiences, and that I would not be giving her advice on the best way to do so.
I also wanted her to be aware of how difficult it was, and wanted to let her know that I wouldn’t be surprised if she felt the same way.
But I think she felt that I had to talk to her to make sure she understood the complexity of the situation.
She felt I needed to let it go, and she wasn’t sure how to say no.
I told her to feel free to make her own choices, and not to let the situation take over her.
And it was a difficult conversation.
My daughter was really excited about her experience at the school, and when she saw the note I wrote, she was ecstatic.
But it took me a few days to write it down, because I had been thinking about it for a while.
As I was writing it, I felt overwhelmed and overwhelmed with anxiety.
I felt like I had a responsibility to help my daughter talk about racism and be heard.
I tried to think about how to write her note, and then what to say to make the most sense.
My biggest concern was not telling her everything, but rather asking her to articulate what she had experienced.
I think my best advice was to make a simple statement, which I hope she can understand and respect.
I don’t know how to explain it better than that.
If you’re having trouble making a simple, clear statement, I can try.
If not, I encourage you to look into other things that might help.
For instance, I might suggest, “We have a lot in common, and we know that racism is a real problem that we need to fix.”
Or, “If we don’t do anything, our kids will be left behind.”
You might even ask, “Do you want to know what it’s like to have a racist boss at school?” or “How are you feeling about being black in this country?”
Or even, “Why is it that you feel like you’re not being heard?”
I can give you a list of resources, such as this list of things that kids in our community need to know, and this list about how we can make sure that our children know about racism.
But for the most part, I think the most important thing is to ask a simple question: What are you thinking about?
Because if your kid doesn’t know, they won’t feel comfortable talking about it.
It’s up to you to be honest