Small Moments, Big Conversations

Small Moments, Big Conversations: Intro

“To bring about change, you must not be afraid to take the first step. We will fail when we fail to try.”

Rosa Parks

The last couple weeks have been HEAVY. I don’t know a better way to say it, but even though heavy is heavy, I hope you’re feeling it. I hope you’re wading in it, wrestling with it, letting it wring you out. I hope you’re not ignoring it or replacing it or simply letting it pass by it.

I’m sure that didn’t land well for everyone, and I think I need to be clear about something before you go any farther with me: I’m not wishing the heaviness away – not for myself or for any of you. I know it’s not easy, but sometimes I think we need the pain of the world right in front of us to reawaken our hearts, to shake off the dust of complacency that has settled on souls, and to loosen our voices to cry out again, “Come, Lord Jesus. This isn’t the way it’s supposed to be…”

Over the last couple weeks, weeping has filled our home and weariness feels like a close companion. I know many of you have found yourselves in this same place. But am I alone in feeling this small tinge of hopefulness, too? With every bit of strength I can muster up, I’m anchoring into that sliver of a silver lining.

An army is rising. And while there are so many incredible ways for you to be ally and advocate in these days, I want to make sure you don’t miss one of the most powerful parts you get to play…as a parent.

The next generation of allies and advocates are our kids, and they’re watching us; they’re soaking in our every move. And I’m inviting you to embrace it.

Learning through play

Wouldn't it be terrible? 
Wouldn't it be sad?
If just a single color
was the color that we had?
If everything was purple?
Or red? Or blue? Or green?
If yellow, pink, or orange
was all that could be soon?
Just imagine how dull
the world would be
If one single color
was all we got to see

Poem by Shane Derolf, “The Crayon Box That Talked

There’s a lesson for little ones built around this poem that I absolutely love [link below]. It starts by having your kids draw / paint / or even just look at two different pictures – one made with a single color and the other with a multitude – and then choose their favorite. Almost without fail, they always chose the one with more color.

“What Can We Learn From a Box of Crayons”, Teaching Tolerance, Grade Level K-2

It seems too simple a statement to even say, but our kids see color.

Research shows that kids as young as three months begin to focus more on faces that match the race of their caregiver. Children as young as two years old use race to reason about people’s behavior. By two and half they use race to choose playmates. Between two and four they are internalizing racial bias. Expression of racial prejudice peak between the ages of four and five. And by age 12, many children become set in their beliefs.

Does this blow your mind a bit, like it did mine? Our kids notice and think about race.

And still, far too often we believe that if we avoid the conversations, wash over the comments they make, ignore the differences around them, and hide the harsh realities of racism, our kids won’t notice. We worry that if we focus too much on differences or talk too often about race too often, we might encourage racial bias in our kids, but it’s simply not true.

In fact, it does the opposite. By staying silent on the topic race, we reinforce racism by letting our kids draw their own conclusions based solely on what they see.

This feels stressful, but it doesn’t have to be!

A Resource for you

Our kids can learn through play! Through books and baby dolls, art projects and science experiments, questions and conversations.

You can do this.

And if you’re looking for resources, I’d love to share mine! Some of it I have created, but a lot of it is just linking you to “stuff” that is already out there. [So. Much. Good. Stuff.] But the teacher in me is excited to organize, excited to put it into “themes” with memory verses and Bible stories, book recommendations and conversation starters, artsy activities and science experience…and some sneaky summer school work, too.

It won’t be fancy, but it’ll be fun! And if nothing else, I hope it will carve out some time in your day for connection and conversation.

You can be looking for each lesson as it unfolds, and if you come across something else that would fit, share it! They are the words I live by: we are better together.

First lesson, “E is for Everybody”, coming soon.