Conversations with My Mother

You Have to Be Carefully Taught……..

Often, as I explored my world in early childhood. I would come running home to share with My Mother my latest adventure or discovery. This day she was standing at the kitchen sink washing dishes with her back to me. It was her style to continue with the task at hand during our conversations. It was her way of making the lessons learned a natural part of life’s daily activities. On this day, her posture carried great significance. She was sending me a clear message.
Did you have lunch at the Smith’s today? She asked. Now my five-year-old mind started roaming. What did I do ? How did she know and why? Was I rude and not mannered? Did I eat too much? What? What? What? Her next question, did you bring other children from the neighborhood with you? Yes, to both was my response. What did I do? I asked.
The  other children’s parents called me. They were upset. She never stopped washing the dishes conveying with her behavior how little the parents phone calls meant to her. Upset over what!!!! I responded. Well you must have noticed that the Smiths have a different color  skin. Yea, so? Well some people do not like them because of that. What???? Are you telling me that people do not like other people because of the color of their skin? Yes,her response wrapped in disapproval. Are you telling me? I cannot play with the Smith children, or go to their home or bring them here?
Now she turned towards me without missing one beat. She looked straight into my eyes. Oh No, I am not telling you that. Please continue to play with the Smith children and go to their home and always bring them here for play and meals. Just do not bring the other children with you. Okay, Mom! I shouted. As I went running off.  I was feeling comfortable, secure, and most importantly enlightened. I did nothing wrong and the color of a person’s skin meant nothing. That conversation resonates in present time for me every day of my life. It provided me with a powerful life lesson. That day my Mother gave me the gift and freedom to embrace difference. It is just that simple. Thanks

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