boys 5 11 14

Last Sunday, I took my boys to our new black Church.  When we pulled into the parking lot, Ransom (8.5) sighed.

“Ugh. Mama, I don’t want to go this one.  I wanted to go to Daddy’s (white) Church!”

Rhysie (4.5), of course, followed suit.  “Yeah, Mama.  I didn’t want to go to this one.”

I lug them out of the car, pontificating about having a good attitude and being thankful for all things blah blah blah when I realize I need to tell them the truth.

“Look boys, it’s good for Mama to be around other black people. Mama needs more black people in her life.”

“I don’t like black people!” Rhysie says in a huff, stomping his foot for good measure.

I sigh.  What I remind myself quickly –he’s 4.5 he does not know what in thee hell he’s talking about.  Also? I’m positive he’s blissfully and conceptually challenged to what race, ethnicity and cultural identity *actually* mean.  After the mental check point, I kneel down to face him and smile, “Rhysie, it’s not nice to say you don’t like people because God made all people.  All people with black skin, peach skin, yellow skin, light brown skin, reddish skin, no matter what color skin God loves them all and we should too.”

Ransom interrupts, “besides, Rhysie, your Mama is black.  If you don’t like black people you don’t like your Mama.”

Rhysie looks curiously at my skin.  “No she’s not, she’s white like me!”

Rhysie B 5 11 14

White like me.

White like me.

White like me.

This is too much for today.  Yet, attending this Church is right on time for us 3 racially ambiguous ragamuffins.

“Rhysie,” I say, “Neither you or Mama are only white.  God made us black too.  In fact, your Grandpa Green was black but you never met him because he died before you were born.”

“Grandpa Green wasn’t green?”

I explain his last name was a color not a skin tone but give up when I see him fading out spying bugs on the sidewalk.

Ransom chimes in, “Mama, I don’t like this Church because… I just don’t like how different…”

Ransom 5 11 14

I tell him the first time I ever went to a big, black Church I was scared too.  I tell him people worship God in lots of different ways and just because we aren’t used to it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t go to those places. I tell him I want he & Rhysie to learn to love the traditions of African-Americans because it’s part of their heritage.

He’s either very impressed with my answer or either very bored because he takes my hand and we walk in silence.

After Church, Rhysie is giddy from making Mother’s Day art, Ran had an hour of snuggling, drawing & iPad time with me during the sermon.

In the car I ask, “Now was that soooooooooo bad?”

Ran says no, but that he still doesn’t like it.

Like most parenting moments, good enough for today.

Signature

Join Grace’s Email List

Each post directly to your inbox, Grace's quarterly-ish newsletter & exclusive giveaways.

  • http://www.allthingsbeautifulblog.com/ Alyssa Bacon-Liu

    Wow. I’m sure these things are tough to hear from your little guys. Keep on keeping on, my friend. The love you have with your boys is a powerful one and I know God is stirring something great in your family!

  • http://twitter.com/HeatherCaliri Heather Caliri

    When I took my daughters abroad in the hopes they’d learn to love Latino culture and the Spanish language, one of my daughters screamed (in front of a friend), “I hate people who don’t speak English”.
    I can’t even imagine if it were my own culture/heritage that she’d felt so negative about. I pray God opens doors for your boys to experience this church–and God in it–fully.

  • Kristi Scott

    Reminds me of when I was a teenager. A bi-racial friend and I would say we didn’t like black people. We were both growing up in white suburbs and felt judged by the black community for being “Oreos” and listening to “white music” all the time.

    I’ve changed A LOT and adore the black community; I just ignore those who think I’m too white. All that to say, it’s good that you’re bringing them into the black community when they’re still young. They need it and will grow out of their discomfort with the culture.

    Sadly, in a country that says black=ghetto, violent, stupid, it is an uphill battle teaching our children that being black means strength, dignity, and grace beyond what sheltered white folks can ever comprehend.

  • Jerry

    Nothing like children to keep it real.

  • Jillie

    Good Mama-ing, Grace! Keep pluggin away and I know those beautiful boys of yours will come round. It’s hard to introduce our kids to new church environments, but once they start making friends there, they’re all in. Bless their little misunderstanding hearts. You didn’t say anything of what the new church experience meant to you. I hope we hear more about it in posts to come?

  • pastordt

    Kids are not crazy about change and will almost always push back. I’m sorry they chose to push back the way they did, Grace, but I think you ACED the situation with your responses. They’ll get there. You all will.

  • letjusticerolldown

    Encourage you to always allow your kids words to stand on their own terms first. Don’t hear them in your categories. My children at that age made varying statements about black and white that had absolutely nothing to do with race.

  • Pingback: Weekend Links (Vol. 4) | Redemption Pictures()

  • ashleydark

    why don’t you take them to a multicultural church, there must be some around of the christian faith/sect .. I live in a small shitty town and we have many multi-colored churches, thats probably whats best for them (multicultural everything might be better), they may even see families like theirs and you and your husband can go (you made it seem like your husband couldn’t come to a black church?i haven’t read any of your past post to know)

  • SELBY YAWNER

    Kids are naturally repelled by negroids. Much smarter than lib adults.