Monday, April 1, 2013

Through my daughters eyes...

Lately we have enjoyed long chats with our daughter Miss G on life, on God, on how things are different and why they are. We have answered many questions, some with a well thought out answer, some with an age appropriate answer, some with a scriptural answer and others with, I don't know. The I don't know works well, although I remember being a kid and wondering...who does know? So we often explain it is the complexities of life that we don't understand, and are the ones we can ask Jesus when we get to heaven. For example Why are you white? Well besides the obvious that Grandma and Papa are white, that is how God made me. Why? Why didn't he make you brown like me? I don't know, only He does.

Some are kind of fun...why do our teeth fall out? Well we need to make room for big teeth. But why don't we just get teeth that grow with us, like our feet? Good that one.
Why do some people look all over the place when they are driving and not at the road...again...good question.

Why don't birds poop on the ground? Flying is fun and they don't want to stop and poop? I don't know. I guess some birds do. They might be too fat to fly...sure why not.

Why do you need to drink coffee? Because...It is bad for you...Yep I will take my chances.

How come God made you the parent and me the kid? Well if you were the kid I would get to eat all the chocolate I want and that would be bad for me and my teeth would fall out. But one day you will be a parent and you will have a kid that wonders the same thing....Not my kid, my kid will listen to everything and do everything I ask the first time. Good luck on that.

But this weekend the why question struck a whole new chord, a deep meaning, needing a child like answer...I couldn't find one. I was tempted to say I don't know, then tempted to say what I was thinking and then I just day when you are bigger we can talk about it. It is a big answer. With that less than informative response she was quite content that one day she would know, but for me, I was burdened....and the intensity of the fierce love for the kid that I felt at that instant brought tears to my eyes. An overwhelming sense of wanting to protect her from the horrible cruelness of the world, the injustice, racism and history came flooding into my spirit. So for today the answer was..when you get older.

The question... Why was there was more black people in the USA than in Canada?  

The answer, because a long time ago, things were different, people were not treated well and many people came to live in the USA from Africa against their will. Explain that to a seven year old kid who really did not want to come to North America either. If she had the choice she would have stayed in her first family. In her case of course the circumstances were different but I was not prepared in my heart and didn't want to burst into tears and tell her everything I think and feel about racism, about apartheid, about historical accounts of life on plantations. I was not ready to explain the "s" word.

This question will come up again, she does not forget a single thing. I am not sure I will ever be ready to explain how wrong people were. I want to remind her how beautiful her culture is, how thankful we are that she was born in Africa, of all of the pieces that ties "her story" somehow into history, because of her race.

Forty years ago a tall scrawny kid from small town Canada, raised in a middle income, blue collar family, chose a heart path that would inexplicably change my life's direction. I was in grade six, and wrote a report on apartheid in South Africa, that report and the research gave me a conviction to live and teach everybody I know, the simple concept...we are people first. Short, sweet and to the point, no fluff, just people. Love them all. Be willing to stick up for anyone who needs a voice. Be bold, be loud, take a stand. Am I political? No. Am I part of a group who works with injustice? No. I just love people, I accept people, I would give you the shirt off my back, if you needed it. I do my thing here.

I wish for my girls sake that our community had the numbers of African American people that we met and saw during our Easter break. We have a large culturally diverse population but there was an ease and a curiosity that was evident during our visit. I pray that we will know the good time to share a little more about history, sharing the stories and movies we have collected over the years, teaching about heroes like Martin Luther King, and Rosa Parks.

My heart now has a little chamber of intimacy that was not there before, I am used to seeing the world through my eyes, but now I am seeing it through my daughters eyes and the truth hurts. Tucked away until the time is right, I pray that I can teach both my daughters what I told my bigs when we talked about their great grandpa dying in the Holocaust....we cannot change what happened but we can do everything in our power to make sure it never happens again.

If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as a Michaelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, 'Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.” 
 Martin Luther King, Jr.

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