“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” – MLK Jr.
I was running late this morning and trying to get the kids to school on time. I watch Morning Joe on MSNBC most mornings, but turn on The Disney Channel once my children wake up. The news is too hard to bear lately, and certainly too scary to for my kids to handle.
I forgot to turn the channel and heard the words “shithole.” I went into the living room and saw both my children looking at the TV with a weird look on their faces. They heard the story about the racist comments Trump uttered in the DACA meeting.
At first I didn’t know what to say and regretted not changing the channel, but after speaking to them, I was glad they watched the news story of the remarks heard round the world.
My daughter is 12 now and hears about news stories at school, and from me sometimes, so I thought she would be able to grasp and handle the situation. My son is 7 years old, and though he gets the picture on his own that Trump is not a very nice person/President, I think he was shocked to hear what he said.
My daughter said to him, “Trump just said those bad things about people in other countries, many of them have brown skin and have suffered a lot.”
My 7 year old son responded “I learned about Martin Luther King at school, and he and others were treated bad because of the color of their skin. That was not nice, and it is not okay what he (Trump) just said.”
I was never so proud of my kids. They both had looks of disgust on their sweet little faces. They both got it.
I frequently feel like I’m a failure as a mom because I am chronically ill and unable to participate in many things. I have to lie down a lot and am in pain most days. I am grumpier and not as much fun as I used to be. But, I try very hard to instill a sense of what is right and wrong on a daily basis. I consistently speak of how important it is to help others as often as we can.
I tell them how we are all equal, and should be treated that way. No one is better than anyone else, and if they ever see someone being mistreated for who they are or what they look like, that they should speak up or tell a teacher or adult what has occurred.
I tell them that they can not truly understand what it is like to walk in a person of color’s shoes, but that they should listen, show compassion, and walk forever beside them.
They should never use their shoes to trample upon others, and if they have extra pairs they should donate them to someone in need.
I struggle like most moms to get my kids to listen to me, and for them to get ready properly and on time. I worry that they won’t remember the safety rules and little bits of wisdom I try to tell them.
Then sometimes mornings like this occur and I am overcome with emotion and pride.
We cannot sit back and say nothing. We have to use our collective voices to speak up and help those who experience injustice.
I will include my children in current events more often now. I have learned an important lesson this morning.
I cannot shield them from the terrible acts of a President who is spiraling out of control and espousing racist remarks. I cannot shield them from a world full of injustice and remain silent any longer.
I can help them to become good little citizens who on the eve of Martin Luther King Jr. Day may just help bend “the arc of the moral universe” a little more toward justice.
As a mom, I pray every day for a better world for them. A world where “unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.” A world where all of Dr. King’s words still resonate and point us in the right direction.
Let’s try our best to raise good children and walk this path together.