What I will tell my 3 year old about Ferguson
The newsfeed today is full of dark. No matter what you believe about what did or didn't happen in Missouri. No matter what you believe the world is full of hate. It's full of hate. Hate. Hate. Hate. Take that as you will. Our world is full of hurt. It's full of pain. On days there are riots. On days there aren't riots. The world is full of pain. Full of it.
So, what is it we tell our children today? Mine is 3. (Probably the most I'm telling him on any given day: if you don't eat those apple slices so help me!) But, today and every day what is it we are telling our children?
What do we tell them about Brown? About Wilson? About Ferguson? What do we tell them about Missouri? What do we tell them about our neighbors? What do we tell them about the northside of Lafayette? Sorry! Upper Lafayette! What do we tell them about River Ranch?
What do we tell them all day every single day in word? And more importantly what do we tell them in deed? What do we tell them when there are no words?
Wilder is 3 years old. I don't tell him much. That's easy to believe. And it's a lie. I tell him a lot. I tell him worlds. With my words. With my actions. With a face I make. With the love I show. With the love I withhold. With how I view our world. And it matters.
Ferguson is a minefield. One that some parents are having to navigate today in ways I do not. Because my son is three. So, what do I tell him? What do I tell the world on days like today?
I tell him with my actions what no words can convey. I let this little light of mine shine in this corner of the world. It's really all you can do. Love people. Shine in the hate. Shine in the dark. Shine in the pain and in the hurt. Love people anyway.
Stand up for what's right. Stand up for truth. Pursue justice. Walk humbly. Shine. Don't let the newsfeeds and the 24-hour news cycle thirsty thirsty for blood and drama fuel your convictions. They don't love you. They don't love them.
Them. There's a lot of "them" on days like today. I have a beautifully diverse newsfeed and "them" depends on the person. Some "thems" are white and some are black. Some are both. Some are neither.
I think what I tell my son and what we are all telling our children today and every day is that there is a "them." There is a "those people."
And that just may be one of the things that is really is wrong with this world. Our vocabularies and our hearts are too full of "them" and too short on "we."
The thing about light is that it shines on that which it touches. It's not something we can transport without bringing a part of ourselves. And so I can't shine in Ferguson right this minute. I can shine right here where I am. So can you. And that matters.
It may not bring peace to a breaking city. It may not bring anyone back from the dead or justice or resolution. But, it lays a foundation and it's what we can do as mothers no matter how geographically small our touch. Even if that touch reaches no further than your own backyard and your own creaking rocking chair today.
We can love people right where we are because tomorrow this little city of mine and that little city of yours just may be the place where hate and pain and hurt all meet. I can show my child every day in how we live that the world is a place of "we." That in hearts that are open there is no room for "them."