I knew having a daughter was going to be amazing and very difficult, but the harder you work for something, the more you appreciate it. Right? I was not an easy daughter to raise and my mom jokes that my daughter is just as tough to pay me back for all the challenges I gave my own mom.
I was prepared for middle school drama, but we have had to have some hard conversations already. One of those was yesterday in the car.
My daughter and I had run to Target, she wanted to buy a toy with her own money and I said yes. She was so excited, she figured out which one she wanted to buy and she paid with her own money. We were driving home and she was looking at the packaging, trying to decide which surprise doll was going to be in the one she bought. This in general is odd, why buy something you don’t know what is in it? But Harper was excited, she was guessing what doll was going to be in it, what accessories she was going to get …the list went on with questions.
And then she said, “I wonder what color skin it will have, Brown, Black, or white like mine?”
My whole world stopped, what did she say, did I really hear her just say that? I was shocked, where had she heard this before, my mind was racing. We don’t talk about skin color, we actually make a point to not discuss it with our children, up until this point our kids have never noticed skin color.
I stopped the car, we were pulling into the gas station to pump gas, and turned around to ask her what she said.
She repeated it to me, and I asked her where she heard that before. She shrugged and said her friend’s at school. Our family discussions are different than other people, so her friends may talk about this at school with some regularity. But I was struggling with this, we want to raise children who are kind and welcoming to everyone, the thought of my daughter commenting on color, was gut wrenching to me. I asked her what they talked about at school, and she said they talked about how people have different color skin and hair but they are all the same on the inside. My mommy heart smiled and took a deep breath.
We then talked about how recently on her class field trip to the farm, Mr. Earnest showed three different colored eggs to show are different we are. Read the post here if you missed it, so powerful! Harper said, yes mom I remember, all three eggs were different on the outside, but are the same on the inside. I said yes, they are, we are all the same on the inside. God made us all different on the outside, different sizes, different shapes, different colors, but we are all made alike on the inside. I also took the time to tell Harper that we don’t talk about what people look like, or the color of their skin. God made us all uniquely different on the outside, but we are all children of God on the inside.
I am very grateful to have had this moment with her in live time, to be able to talk to her about what we believe. She needs to hear from us as her parents what we believe and not what her friends tell her. This conversation was hard for me mainly because I grew up in the south and know how horribly racist our country is and how our society puts value in what you look like. This is something my husband and I have intentionally not talked to her about, as up until this conversation she has never noticed or commented on skin color. We didn’t want to start the discussion to plant the seed of differences. My hope for our children is that they are kind human beings that welcome everyone, no matter their color, their beliefs or where they come from. We are called to love one another.
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” -John 13:34
I know this is only the first of many challenging conversations with my daughter, send prayers and wine please! I am grateful for the space and time that we had to discuss this and for us to continue the conversation. I know our kids are influenced by many different ideas, but to ground our children in our core family values is our purpose as parents. Let me know amy suggestions or great books we can read as a family on this topic!