“It takes a village to raise a child.” – African proverb
This year has been a hard one on everyone already. I know that is a huge understatement. It has been a very unsettling time. As the pandemic hit the states here in March my wife and I have been talking to our kids about it and what are its effects. We were trying to educate our kids on the precautions we should take to make sure we are doing our part to flatten the curve. We spoke about the importance of washing our hands, social distancing and wearing masks. While it was a stressful time on all of us things started to get even harder.
Teach Your Children Well
When the video of George Floyd surfaced many people were shocked. Other people were not. They were used to seeing that happen in their neighborhood. The Black community live in fear because other races look at them and judge them before getting to know them.
When I became a father I knew that I wanted to teach my kids about the golden rule. I wanted to tell them to respect everyone no matter their gender, background or race. As I got older I started to realize that as a white man there were things I didn’t have to worry about that my friends who were Black had to deal with on a day to day basis.
When I would hear a story from my friends about how they were mistreated I would reflect on how I could do my part in my own home. My wife and I teach our kids that they need to be respectful to everyone. Treat people the way they would want to be treated. This past weekend my wife and I spoke to our kids about what was going on in our country.
We had a discussion about the protesting and how Black people were treated differently. We spoke of how people were looking for a change so that everyone has the same amount of respect. My kids are at an age where they are learning about the Civil Rights movement in school. My oldest brought that up during our conversation on Sunday and what she took away from learning about the 1960s.
It Starts At Home
After we had that talk I know that now more than ever that it is on us parents, especially white parents to teach our kids that you need to love and care for everyone no matter their skin color. I have spoken with hundreds of dads on my different fatherhood podcasts. When I speak with Black dads they share things that I didn’t think about when it comes to raising kids. They tell me of their fears and how they have to be extra cautious with their kids.
It shouldn’t be that way. Everybody deserves the right to be treated equally. It is sad that in 2020 we are still having to fight for everyone’s equality. So my hope after reading this, you as a parent pause and reflect on what you have taught your children. If you teach your kids about love and respecting others you also need to talk to your kids about racism. It will not be an easy talk, but it will be a necessary one.
Parents. It is up to us. We need to help make our kid’s generation the best one yet. Their generation should be full of love. It should be full of respecting others. It should be full of understanding. One of my goals as a dad is to make sure that my kids go out and become positive influences in the world. I can do this by talking to them about love, respect and the tough issue of racism so that they can go into this world knowing how to treat everyone the right way.
Parents, please find a time when your kids are at the age you feel comfortable to have an open and honest conversation about racism. It is on us to create a better life for not just our kids, but kids of every race, color and creed.