Welcome to 2012! I know that I have been quiet and everyone has been on the edge of their seats for this next post…I have written so many and have a list of ones to write but last night, my youngest son said something that moved me to tears… and so this post takes precedent.
My youngest child who is five and a half and started kindergarten in the fall…you know the one if you read prior posts of how my heart was being ripped out on his first day of school and he was so ready to roll with it! He has been learning at such an amazing pace! The other night we were snuggled in bed reading and chatting and listening to classic Charlie Brown episodes on youtube (what can I say? we like to multi-task!) At one point I commented ‘true story!’ to which my youngest calmly added ‘that would be non-fiction’ mama. Great moment! And now…the rest of the story:
Martin Luther King Jr. day is this coming week and I know that the children are learning about his life and experiences. Here is where my youngest comes in…He walks into the kitchen where my husband and I are and matter of fact-ly states “Daddy, if Martin Luther King Jr. didn’t work so hard to have the laws changed, then Mama would boss you around and you would have to listen to her.” He then proceeded to explain that because Mama is cream and Daddy is brown that I would be the boss and Daddy would have to work very hard for me and not be treated very kind.” (don’t get me started on the whole cream and brown thing…it is a post in the writing). Let me just say that I am not white…never have been…not even on my palest winter day…I am cream thank you very much!
We have talked a lot with our children about the history of apartheid in South Africa and how the brown people did not have basic human rights under the apartheid laws and how we know this first hand. We also talk about the history of slavery in the U.S. We talk a lot about apartheid because my husband was born in South Africa and lived there until he came to the United States on scholarship for a degree in engineering. (we met and married in college) He was here in the U.S. when apartheid was finally legally ended in S.A. We talk about how Daddy, his family and all brown people were treated under this atrocious government. We talk about how Daddy slept as a toddler tied to Gogo’s back so if their home in Soweto was raided in the night then she would not have to search for him to keep him safe as they fled…and how one night when he was older, a raid happened and he hid in the dog house and was not found but how his family was so worried until they found him safely there after the raids subsided…. and how when I visited South Africa, I talked with Gogo about it. Gogo is my husbands maternal grandmother and is such an amazing woman, it is a blog post of its own. Needless to say, I asked her one day as we exchanged recipes at her dining room table in Soweto, why the brown people of S.A. (who far outnumbered the cream people), never took up arms and just ended this maltreatment once and for all! Gogo is such a beautiful and gentle soul smiled at me and placed her hand upon mine and replied something like this, “You see Kimberly, we easily could have done that but that was not the right thing to do. Violence is not the answer and you see, we persevered and prevailed through peace. We stood strong in what we believe in and stayed faithful in God.” I was so humbled by her answer! That is one thing that I have always worked to instill in my children…to stand up for what they know is right…to encourage and be kind to others and accepting and compassionate to all.
And back to the story…my beautiful son then proceeded to say, “and do you know that there was a brown woman who was on a bus and a cream person told her to move so they could have her seat? She didn’t move though and guess what…the bus driver called the police and she got arrested! Her name was…let me think…”
“Rosa Parks?” I asked. He nodded wide eyed. I add, “Did you know that when Daddy came to the United States that he met Rosa Parks?” (non-fiction moment!) My sons eyes widened more and I could feel his heart grow at that very moment…he just looked up at Daddy and smiled and then hugged him big!
My husband and I looked at one another knowing that if Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks and so many other people had not remained true to their hearts, to what they truly believed was the right thing to do, then my husband would never have made it to study in the U.S…that he never would have met Mama and my son therefore as he is today, would not be. We smiled at one another, and silently thanked God and all those who work hard to this day to work peacefully for what is just and right.
Thanks for reading…and stay tuned for part II of this post…