Happy Tiny Tuesday, friends! You guys, I think my girls and I have a problem…we’re obsessed with pumpkins! We just can’t seem to get enough this year. Every time we go somewhere we seem to come home with a new pumpkin (well, two to be exact because both girls have to have one…you know, the whole “it has to be fair” thing). Sooner or later I really do think our entire front porch will be covered in pumpkins.
It’s been fun though because my girls are bringing me out of my pumpkin shell. I love the white pumpkins (no shock there), but they have opened my eyes to see the beauty in all different pumpkin types. The cinderella pumpkins are a new favorite and Abby loves all the funky looking ones with warts and deformities.
Also over the weekend, we had an awesome chat over on Instagram. I shared a story about Emma Grace trying to console a friend on the playground and so many of you seemed to relate. The gist of the story was that I was telling Emma Grace that sometimes we need to respect one’s desire for space to which she responded, “but mom, you never taught me that.” It was an in-your-face reminder that at this age, I am one of the biggest influences on Emma Grace’s life. She is learning so much from my words, my actions, and my lessons. Exciting and terrifying at the same time.
As we were looking at the pumpkins we have accumulated on our porch, it reminded me of some of the sweet conversations we’ve been having about race and speaking different languages. Every single one of our pumpkins is a different shape and a different color and yet they’re all beautiful in their own way. This is exactly the same way I want my girls to look at humans and y’all, it is most definitely up to me (and my husband) to instill this in our girls. I know race can feel like a big topic, but hey, big topics are just as important as the menial ones. I’m not here to preach, but rather just remind myself of the role I play in my girls’ lives and frankly, to ask for accountability!
It sounds ridiculous to say this, but I honestly grew up without giving racism much thought. Sure, I learned about it in history class, but I never really noticed it until College. I began forming opinions on how racism was developed and fostered and truly believed it was a product of one’s environment. It seemed to be something everyone just knew about – one’s color being different than another’s and what that can mean unfortunately.
It wasn’t until I became a parent that I realized that racism is most definitely a learned behavior. According to a Harvard University psychologist, it can actually be learned as early as 3 years old. Once I had my girls, I began to realize the massive role parents can and do play in forming thoughts and opinions around race for one’s child.
What made me think of this subject was a conversation Emma Grace and I had last week. And honestly, it made me think that there are some of you young mommies that are probably having similar conversations at your home. Up until this past week Emma Grace had only described people to me by their hair color – black, white, orange, curly, etc. This past week however she told me that everyone has a different shade of tan skin. I agreed. The first time we had this conversation she described how her tan skin was lighter than Abby’s and mine and more similar to her daddy’s; she is right, haha.
The second conversation we had was in regards to language and skin color. She asked how you can tell what language someone speaks by their skin color. I told her you can’t, because you can’t. I gave her examples of lots of her friends that speak multiple languages and all have different shades of “tan skin.”
The third conversation we had this week was regarding marriage. This was the conversation that was my reminder of my role as a parent. Emma came to me in my bathroom while I was getting ready and told me that “tan people marry tan people” and “dark tan people marry dark tan people.” I immediately felt the weight of this conversation, stopped what I was doing, and sat down with her. I made a slight chuckle and gave her a big smile as I said, “babe, what does God care about when he looks at us?” She answered, “our inside.” I told her she was exactly right. God couldn’t care less about what our hair looks like, what color our skin is, or what clothes we wear. He wants to know our heart and that is what he finds beautiful.
We talked about how God specifically asks us to love others as he loves us. So I asked her if God cares only about our insides, what should we care about? She answered our inside. I told her of course she was right – just like God loves us for who we are, so too do we love others for who they are and not what they look like. I told her that a light tan person can marry a dark tan person, a medium tan person can marry a light tan person, and so on. Marriage, beauty, intelligence, none of that is dictated by one’s shade of tan skin. Rather, we need to focus on the inside.
I know this has been a long post, but it was heavy on my heart and I am so appreciative of you taking the time to read it! Mamas, our little girls and boys are looking to us to help them define and navigate this big world. So, let’s raise our kiddos to be accepting, loving, and rejoice in our differences!
photography: fort lion studio