As a working mom of two young kids, admittedly I don’t have much time to keep up with world events. My daily news intake consists mostly of the local weather forecast and traffic updates. So when I saw the headline flash across my TV that the Governor of Missouri had declared a state of emergency, I was curious. What happened in Missouri? Some kind of weather disaster? Nope. A teenager was killed by a police officer. No – let me rephrase that – a black teenager was killed by a white police officer. Wait – what the heck does skin color have to do with that story? Apparently a lot. Enough to cause violent riots throughout the state.
Hey World, let me tell you a story about how my three year old feels about skin color. My husband’s best friend came to visit and stay with us for a week. My son Jack, can be very shy around people he doesn’t know (and people he does know for that matter – he was terrified of my father for about 6 months of his life) so I was a little apprehensive about how he would react to a stranger staying with us (not to mention a stranger who happens to be a 6 foot 3 black man named Big John). Well, John walked in our house, scooped up my son and I held my breath, waiting for the probable “Who the heck are you” freak out. Instead, my son gave him a huge smile and said “Can I show you my room?” and grabbed John’s hand and led him upstairs. They were inseparable from that moment on.
To tell you the truth, I don’t know why my son is shy around some people and instantly comfortable with others (I mean his grandfather is not exactly a scary man). I do know that my son is extremely observant – he instantly notices when I buy a different brand of milk or wear a new shirt or if I put his digger in a different position on the shelf. But one thing became very apparent about my son during John’s visit – he doesn’t see skin color. He just doesn’t see it. He literally judges a person by “the content of their character”. And someone who’s willing to look at all your monster trucks and play soccer with you is a cool dude. It’s that simple. Problem solved.
Same Sex Marriage
Another news story:
“Most Utahns remain steadfastly opposed to same sex marriage, a new poll shows, and likely will remain so…” (Written by Bob Bernick on 18 August 2014Posted in Today At Utah Policy)
Listen up World, my three year old has another lesson for you. This past spring our friends got married and I have their marriage announcement on our refrigerator. My son, being the curious little person he is, wanted to know who they were. Our conversation went like this:
Jack: Who are they?
Mom: They’re Mommy and Daddy’s friends. They just got married.
Jack (pointing to one of them): Is she a girl?
Jack (pointing to the other): Is she a girl?
Jack: And they got married together?
Mom: Why do you think?
Jack: They are in love?
Jack: Ok. Can we go outside?
There are a lot of serious issues out there in the world. Two people who want to get married should not be one of them. You’re in love and want to “get married together”? Ok. Now go play outside. Problem solved.
Last week my son found my nail polish and by the time I discovered him, he had painted four of his fingernails. I immediately grabbed the nail polish remover and started taking it off. Then I noticed he did a really nice job with one of his nails (it was very impressive!) so I asked him if he wanted to leave it on. He said yes. I felt the need to supplement this conversation by saying “Just so you know honey, boys don’t usually wear nail polish. Usually girls wear nail polish”. He looked at my nails and shot back, “Mommy, you’re a girl and you don’t have nail polish on your fingers.” Uhhhh……..no. No I don’t. Well played son. Touché. This time, I was the one who learned a lesson: Sometimes wearing nail polish is just that. It has nothing to do with being feminine or masculine or gender roles. Hey World (yep, including me): stop with the gender stereotypes. Let people just BE. Let their actions speak for them, not their appearance. Problem solved.
So World, I hope you’re listening. We can all learn from my three year old. The World would be a little more pleasant if we were able to see things through innocent and unjaded eyes. Things don’t have to be so complicated and controversial.
If you play nicely with me, I will like you.
If you’re in love with someone and want to get married, get married.
If you feel like wearing pink nail polish, go for it.
Although the World will inevitably influence Jack as time passes, I’d like to think he will retain his basic non-biased outlook, and I will do everything I can to make sure he does. Who knows, maybe one day he will actually make some positive changes in this world. (Although, I suppose he should learn to poop in the potty first).