Last week I wrote a post about George Floyd and how his needless death had greatly impacted my own life. I dug a little deeper into the background of racism in America and frankly, I was appalled and grieved by what I discovered.
Read that post now: We are at a Defining Moment.
As a white woman living snugly and safely in the heartland of America, I just didn’t know what I didn’t know.
Now that I do know a bit more, I’m open to learning and growing and being an agent of change.
We have opened the conversation of race with our kids and it has been really good.
It has been a time of simmering with facts and wrestling with bigger truths. Many friends and followers have reached out to me, in one form or another, and shared that they, too, are in Learn Mode.
I wasn’t going to write about this topic this week, but sometimes blog posts more or less write themselves.
What do I mean by that?
Well, in the last ten days or so, one thing that has come up, over and over: some people are struggling with the phrase, “Black Lives Matter.”
At first I was kind of nonchalant about it, thinking, “You’ll figure it out,” but then the voices got louder and I heard privileged white kids getting all feisty about that phrase.
I thought it might be helpful to share how my 17-year old daughter came to a deeper understanding of the phrase, “Black Lives Matter.”
First, some background. My husband and I have eight children. When Bridget was four years old, we adopted Malaysia, who was also four. Be still my heart, aren't they the cutest girls you've ever seen?
Bridget and Malaysia have grown up together and they have always been the girls in the middle of our big ol' pile of kids.
Bridget and Malaysia are sisters, but they are more like friends. Malaysia laughs at just about everything Bridget does, and Bridget is more than happy to keep Malaysia rolling.
Yet when Bridget kept hearing the phrase, “Black Lives Matter,” her immediate response: yes, but in reality, all lives matter, including the unborn.
She thought that singling out black lives was creating a big division. She talked it over with a friend, who challenged her thinking in a gentle way.
Bridget sought more input. Yep, she got out her phone and started researching. (Just think how we used to gather info 20 or 30 years ago! My, how things have changed!)
As she searched, she was shown different ways to think about the phrase, "Black Lives Matter."
Someone on social media spoke about Jesus and how he left the 99 sheep to go and find the one.
Jesus loved all of his sheep. Leaving the 99 didn’t mean that He loved them any less. He just needed to get the one that needed His help.
He loved them all.
Another person shared this analogy: imagine that there is a house and it is ON FIRE.
The firemen are called and they go straight to that house and work to put out the fire.
Now, imagine a homeowner on that same block calling the fire department and complaining, “Why aren’t you spraying down my house, too? Doesn’t my house matter to you?”
The fireman would say, “Yes, your house matters….but it’s not on fire.”
In the same way, the phrase, “Black Lives Matter” does not mean that other lives DON’T matter. It just means that right now, there is a fire. And we should all focus our attention and efforts on the fire.
Those analogies did something inside Bridget’s heart and probably more importantly, in her mind. She understood.
“Black Lives Matter” does not take anything away from any other person. It just focuses on the plain truth: there has been injustice and inequality for far too long in our country.
I know this post is short and sweet, but I hope you’ll use it as a springboard for deeper conversations in your own home.
“The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.” Martin Luther King, Jr.
Read: We are at a Defining Moment.
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