Monday, January 18, 2010

The reason there's no school today

Last week, Emma came home from school telling me that they had been reading lots of stories each day. Being a reader myself, I loved hearing that! When I asked what the stories were about, she first told me they were non-fiction - "That means they really happened, Mom."

She began telling me a story about a woman on a bus. She told me that this woman had dark skin, but that the bus driver tried to make her move to the back of the bus so a man with light skin could sit in her seat. The woman refused because it wasn't fair.

She told me another story about how "in the olden days" people with light skin didn't want to shop with people with dark skin, so there were certain stores made only for the "white people" ("because sometimes they're just called the white people, Mom"). Or that the "dark people" could only go in if there were signs up that allowed them to enter.

Another story was about a dark boy who didn't think things were fair. When he grew up he became a pastor ("like Daddy!") and fought for what was right.

After telling me a few of these stories, she looked at me with her big, brown eyes and said with disbelief, "Mommy, can you believe those things used to happen? It's so sad!"

I was a little choked up as I talked to her; I'm proud that she's learning the rocky history of our country and seeing the injustice of it all. She has a sensitive heart and I don't think until it was pointed out at school that she saw any difference in people and thought that some are treated differently. When I asked if the lady on the bus was named Rosa Parks, she gasped and said, "Yes! Do you know her??" I explained that I didn't know her, but that I know Rosa's story and the other stories that she shared with me. She was impressed and we talked about it a little while longer.

It was hard not to laugh when she shook her head and said, "It's just sad. It means you and Daddy wouldn't be able to shop at the same store!!!" Have you seen Gary? He's a California boy with a year-round tan, but I'm pretty sure we would have been able to shop at the same store. But, I'm glad she sees that those times allowed for some very unfair situations... to put it lightly.

So today at lunch we talked about Martin Luther King, Jr. and why there's no school today. And when we prayed we thanked God for giving so many men and women courage to stand up for what's right. I hope my kids follow the lead of the brave people from Emma's school stories and always do what's right and treat people fairly and with love. Because today is about a lot more than just a day off school.


  1. I had a similar conversation with Natalie last week. I was trying to explain racism to her, and she was looking at me like I was crazy. "Why would people do that, Mom, just because someone's skin is a different color?!?"

    I'm glad she recognizes it for the evil that it is. And I'm somewhat encouraged that it is such a foreign concept to her. MLK's dream is becoming reality, thank you God.

  2. I'm covered in goosebumps. Such a great moment, Angie; you truly are an amazing mother. Great lessons and great dreams. What an impact you are making on your kids and more importantly the world.

  3. Your Emma is pretty smart!!! ;)

    It just goes to show you that prejudice is taught. If we don't teach our children that people are different, then they will think that everyone is the same and should be treated equally. Which is how it SHOULD be.....

  4. So cute! Loved that she thought you and Gary wouldn't be able to shop together... (I'm thinking that she probably thought that she would classify as a "dark skin" too though?) Such a sweet heart. Hugs to Emma!

  5. I'm glad our public schools are doing a good job :) She is learning so much!

  6. Thank you for sharing your teachable moments. I love it! God bless you, Angie!


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