Sometimes I forget just how much my children are paying attention to everything I do. In the past eight years of being a single mom I have become painfully aware of a lot of the little things I do that will eventually add up to being huge factors in their lives. I am still new at this, some days I am horrible at it. It’s a learning process for all of us and they teach me just as much as I teach them.
Appearance, how we view ourselves, how we view others. I was a little asshole that tried way to hard to fit in during my younger years. I am still an asshole now, I just stopped trying to fit in. I was never much for judging people on their appearance though, my family was far from rich and I also grew up in a single parent house hold.
Looking back now I realize how hard my mom worked to give us the things we had. I am sure some days she wasn’t even able to stay above water, not quite drowning but fighting for those quick gasps of air every now and then. She did her best to hide it but I was always up her ass following her around, worried that she would cry if I left her alone. So I annoyed her instead that way she would be forced to smile when she came up for that quick gasp of air, she always did.
As a mom I get it, as her child I wish I would have been able to do more, want a lot less. I try to teach my kids the value of diversity. The beauty that comes with being around people from various parts of the world. The valuable wisdom that comes with being open to learning why people believe what they do instead of closed off to ones that don’t believe the same things as them. I try to teach them to respect another person’s religious practices, being open to the fact that not all are the same, and the fact that that’s okay. That some don’t have any rituals at all and that is okay too. The world’s beauty lies in the fact that we are all different.
The same diversity that I teach them to be so open to because of its overflowing beauty is the same thing will cause them to miss out on so many life chances because of how mean the world can be and its refusal to actually change into a beautiful, kind thing to be a part of. That’s the part I don’t teach them. I don’t teach them how their beautiful skin will intimidate some people, the kind of people I teach them not to be. I shield them to that because I don’t want it to shape them into that kind of person. I don’t want them to see someone and determine a person’s worth before they have the chance to hear who the person is on the inside.
I don’t tell them that some children are taught differently than them. I can’t tell them that some parents teach their children the opposite and that they should judge a person from a far, sizing them up and basing their opinion on image instead of the goodness of their character and beauty of one’s soul. How sometimes it will be okay for them to date some people until their “one-way” lifestyle parents find out that they aren’t sun-kissed but are in fact bi-racial with a mother that is caucasian and a father that is african-american. I don’t teach them this because I don’t see a point putting a label on their beauty, a category label on them like so many people feel the need to do.
Some of you know what I mean, those random individuals from older generations, people you have never met a day in your life that walk up to you at Wal-Mart and say “Oh my word, what pretty children. What are they?” That question always confuses me.
I guess it confuses me because so many people have fought given everything to steer us away from race having such a negative impact on our everyday life that I can’t understand why strangers still feel okay walking up to us at the store and asking “what my children are”. Don’t do that, it’s rude. It’s never too early to start teaching them self-defense classes and you’ll be the practice dummy. Why can’t they just be beautiful children?
I just don’t see the point in defining a person by their skin tone. Embrace your heritage and learn from it but don’t let it define the person you become, some of us are better people because of it. Some people should not take trips to Wal-Mart with their parents and learn that it’s okay to ask random people what their children are like it’s the equivalent to asking which aisle the milk is on, it’s not. This blog is not about race issues exactly though. This is about image perception, how my children are learning to view themselves and the world around them. It’s about how the world is so hell-bent to separate us all into these categories.
I tell my kids equally that they are beautiful just as much as I tell them they are smart. God, they are both, I am truly lucky. They are beautiful, they are extremely intelligent with a hunger for knowledge that is never satisfied, and they are respectful. They don’t pick their nose in public or repeat the stuff that comes out of their mama’s foul ass mouth. I am young and it is a struggle trying to balance being a mom and no option of a co-parent lifestyle while also juggling school and work but I have amazing parents that have helped out tremendously when I couldn’t be there.
School is the biggest thing I have seen my children pick up on. It’s amazing, they place so much value on school work and even though they are only in first and second grade they are determined to go to college. To them school doesn’t stop when you graduate high-school. That’s just another stepping stone before they go off to college and mama leaves to travel the world because she will still be in her thirties. Heyyyy! I’m kidding I’m kidding, they know I will following them to whatever college their heart desires. Okay that was really a joke, I am catching the first flight to Italy.
A person can tell my kids that they are beautiful and handsome all day but to them it means so much more when you acknowledge how smart they are. I always make sure to say it too, whenever someone compliments their appearance. I always point out how hard they work in school and how they are so extraordinarily smart and that’s always the point when they look up and have a huge smile across their face. Image doesnt’ mean nearly as much to them as wisdom does and as their mother I am so grateful for that. That is what makes them truly beautiful and I hope they don’t allow the world to take that from them. Beauty is fun to look at but life’s true beauty is when you meet someone with a good soul and I hope they have the chance to encounter many in their lifetime.