To my fellow mamas

I have spent the past two weeks reading and sharing posts about the verdict of the Michael Brown case. My heart breaks for his parents who will celebrate their first holiday season without him and with this case and their city torn apart. Racism is still prevalent. We cannot continue to keep our rose-colored glasses on. I have met so many amazing women through blogging who are terrified that their brown and black sons will always be seen as suspicious. I know that I still have to work to do. If I want to be an ally, I need to call out myself and others around me. We make snap judgements all the time based on how people appear. That is how we are wired. I recognize that, and I take steps to counter an initial reaction. Look people in the eyes. Say hello.  Smile.

My husband and I talked with our girls about Ferguson.  We tried to be as candid as possible with them.  As I pondered how to talk to them about this and read a bunch of resources from different friends and educators, all I could heard in my mind were two distinct song.  I thought of two separate songs from two very different musicals – Children Will Listen from Into The Woods and You’ve Got to Be Carefully Taught from South Pacific.  Music is my heart language as my friend Charity says, and sometimes lyrics are more impactful to me than just words.

Children Will Listen

Careful the things you say
Children will listen
Careful the things you do
Children will see and learn
Children may not obey, but children will listen
Children will look to you for which way to turn
To learn what to be

This means that I need to take my words and my actions to heart.  If I want my girls to recognize and value diversity, I need them to tell them and show them through my actions.  When I pretend I do not see race, that is a detriment to my young daughters.  They describe their friends with physical attributes.  Friends have black skin, brown skin, pale skin, blond hair, brown hair, red hair, black hair, blue eyes, green eyes, and brown eyes.

You’ve Got to Be Carefully Taught

You’ve got to be taught
To hate and fear,
You’ve got to be taught
From year to year,
It’s got to be drummed
In your dear little ear
You’ve got to be carefully taught.

You’ve got to be taught to be afraid
Of people whose eyes are oddly made,
And people whose skin is a diff’rent shade,
You’ve got to be carefully taught.

You’ve got to be taught before it’s too late,
Before you are six or seven or eight,
To hate all the people your relatives hate,
You’ve got to be carefully taught!

This song speaks to that systemic racism and prejudice that is deeply entrenched within our communities, our schools, our government and our criminal justice system.  Children are taught through words and actions.  My takeaway is to tell my girls that everyone is unique and different.  As Munch says “if we were all the same, the world would be a really boring place”.  We learn so much from each other through the art of storytelling, reading books and memoirs by diverse authors, listening to music, eating diverse cuisine, and watching plays and musicals that celebrate our individuality and uniqueness.  I do not have all the answers, and I still have work to do myself.  I need to be the change that I want to see in others.

About tranquilamama

Juggling parenthood, housework and working outside the home in the corporate world with my wonderful husband. Mom to 2 beautiful girls. PPD and PPA survivor. The title of my blog is after a phrase that was repeated to me in Spain during my semester abroad in college. It roughly translates to relax and calm down. Trying to tame my inner perfectionist and just be a good enough mom.
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