I was catching up with some friends recently and to no one’s surprise, the conversation quickly turned to our families and children. We shared the stories of our kids growing and changing and driving us crazy.
That gathering with my friends afforded me the opportunity to contrast our parenting experiences with a starkly different reality of other parents. I was given a glimpse of this at a presentation between Dr. Karla Holloway and Cheryl Brown Henderson — both of whom have worked in the areas of equity for years — and then again at Aim 4Peace’s My Brother’s Keeper event, which works to further advance the well-being of men and boys of color.
Speakers at both of these presentations demonstrated the concern and urgency for protection that they feel for the next generation of minority children, particularly boys.
Universally, people talk about where they see their children in the future and what it will take to get them there, and yet those paths could not look more different. My children are safe and have access to what they need in a neighborhood and school. They have opportunities to view the future with hope. Mothers at these events talked about having “The Conversation” with their children, a conversation common among minorities about how to stay safe and alive, how to interact with police, how to diffuse situations that are fraught with high emotion.
Quite honestly and to put it bluntly, I will never feel that I need to discuss those painful issues with my children because that is not part of my world. I know how hard I try to be a good parent, and I know I have days that I think I have not done as well as I could have. I cannot imagine having to add the stress of fearing for my child’s safety to that list. My greatest concern pales in comparison to that.
Like much of the country and world, I have been following the situation in Ferguson, Mo. I pray for all in Ferguson and hope that we can reconcile the incredible hurt experienced by all sides. What’s happening in Ferguson is not my life, but when I turn inward to reflect on this situation, it does renew my appreciation of those in my life who remind me to look through another’s eyes to understand the challenges and perspectives of those who have lived a very different life.
It reminds me to think about what kind of community I want to live in and that I have a responsibility to make that happen, not just for me, but for all.