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.


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