There was a time when I would look at my children, I would shed tears out of fear. I wasn’t afraid that something would happen to them, but more so I was worried if I would live to see them into adulthood. I don’t ever want my children to be motherless until they are well into their sixties. That’s my dream and I’m sticking to it.
But now my fears hit differently.
I have a 19-year-old daughter and two sons, aged 14 and ten. And my fear is that they could be taken from me at the hands of someone else. Someone in a position of authority if they don’t act, speak, or react the ‘right’ way—because of the colour of their skin.
The only thing that brings me a little bit of solace is that I don’t feel as afraid living in the UK as much as I would living in the US. Now don’t get me wrong, I know police brutality has no geographical limitations, but at this point this is how I feel.
For the last week, my thoughts have been inundated with George Floyd. I still refuse to watch the video of him being murdered at the hands of the police but I am very clear about his story. The thought of him calling out for his mother who has predeceased him, resonates my soul. Did he feel his life ebbing away, knowing that he was going to meet his beloved mother?
Just as he was calling out for his mother, that could one day be one of my children calling out for me. Or your child calling out to you. One thing we cannot do is think that our children could ever be exempt from this maltreatment.
So what do you do?
It’s vital that we talk to our children about the injustices which exist in this cold, cold world. Candy coating and pretending that they are safe at all times because they are ‘different’ from those who have been assaulted or killed because of the colour of their skin, is the worst thing we can do to them.
Affirm that they are valuable…to you, to the community and most of all, to themselves. I encourage my children to hold their heads high in everything that they do. Raising self-confident children is one of the greatest gifts you can give them. My children know that they are inferior to no one. If someone considers it being arrogant, so be it. I don’t care. They are not lesser than to anyone!
Speak life into your children. Tell them how great they are. Tell them they are good looking. Intelligent. Talented. Compliment the tone of their skin. Let them know you see their potential and they can achieve anything that they want.
Show them emotion. My children run from my hugs and attempt at kisses. They think that I am gross and overbearing. But one day they will understand my ‘why’. I never want my children to ever question how much I loved them. I want to live forever in their hearts.
And above all, I want my children to live. I want them to exist in world that won’t lynch them because they are Black. But based on history, the chances of that happening in my lifetime appears to be slim.