I’m keeping a secret from my children. I think about it almost daily and how to protect them from it. I wonder when I’ll have to share it; when some child at school will spill the beans and leave them wondering why I lied to them.
My secret is one many of us likely keep from our young ones. The world is harsh, scary and unpredictable. Unlike the movies, there aren’t always happy endings and it’s not clear who the good and bad guys are. Recent events have also led me to believe it’s illogical. This week two men were gunned down by police – the people I tell my daughter to seek out if they get lost or a stranger approaches them. I tell my daughters two wrongs don’t make a right, and this morning wake up to news that five police officers were killed by a sniper in Dallas.
The problem with my secret is that I don’t know how to share it with them and not scare them. I don’t know how to explain why so many people are still racist. I am ill-equipped explain why we all can’t work out our differences by talking them through and finding commonalities. I don’t want to tell them that increasingly going to a public event could lead to bloodshed, horror and death. Honestly, I’m embarrassed at where we are as a society and scared about where we’re going.
My children didn’t know the words “black” or “white” person until they got into elementary school. To them, their classmates just had different hues of the same skin. I remember my oldest describing her friend with “tan skin and curly hair” and telling me how much fun they had together. Unfortunately, it didn’t take them long to sense there was a dividing line that exists. It was drawn lightly in pencil in kindergarten, but as my oldest approaches third grade, I notice the line more sharply drawn in ink between her and her classmates and it makes me sad.
I feel our words resounding on Facebook “THIS HAS TO END” are just empty words. We keep making empty promises to ourselves. “No more gun violence.” “Never again.” “End racism.” What are we doing to make it happen?
I have a new question I’m going to start asking myself to motivate change. “How will I ever explain this to my children?”