This weekend, I started taking to Grace about why she had Monday off. She is at an age where she is very much a sponge, so we talked about who Dr. King was, what he did, and why that made some people very uncomfortable. We talked about how following Jesus convicted him to make changes in the world, and how some people really didn’t like him or what he said, just like Jesus. She was very shocked to hear how people were judged based on the color of their skin, how children couldn’t go to school together, and even shocked about a new story I heard about a girl getting to ride the carousel. Sharon Langley was the first African American child to get to ride a carousel after her park in Maryland was desegregated.
It’s hard to know exactly what to say to your children when it comes to difficult topics, but I felt like it was an important topic to bridge with her, even at the tender age of 5. She wholeheartedly agreed with me that we should not treat others differently because of what they looked like on the outside. She was even able to tell me that Martin Luther King Jr. had a dream that he could play with white children. We talked more about that to clarify her understanding, but she got the gist of his message, that we are all equal in God’s eyes.
I hope that you will pray and talk through those difficult conversations with your children and grandchildren too. If you tell them nothing else, focus on how God loves all of us, no matter what. I am reminded of a song my pastor friend, Lindsay, taught me, “God welcomes all, strangers and friends, God’s love is strong and it never ends.”