Last Friday’s lack of school came easier. The predicted ice storm never came. Images of crashed semi-trailer rigs pointed to a storm that missed more than failed to arrive.
Had the administrators a crystal ball they would not have given students a free Friday in the cold of Winter. Now they will make it up when the weather turns warmer.
The lack of school did not faze M, on Friday.
M could not quite grasp the reason for no school on Monday. His Mom’s explanation about Friday made sense. M could not quite repeat the name of the man for whose memory school let out. “Martin Vufer King.” Those dratted L’s. Maybe it wasn’t the L as much as a lack of familiarity.
T worked to explain the day’s meaning to her young 5 year old. She told M about the man, Martin Luther King Jr. T shared with M how during a time not long ago people were judged by the color of their skin. Those with darker skin faced people who were unkind. They suffered for the color of their skin. His little mind worked to grasp what he heard. T decided to ask M about some of his fellow students.
T: What color of skin does X have?
T: What color of skin do you have?
T: How do you think X should be treated?
T: How should X be treated different?
M: People should be kind.
T: Should you be treated different?
T: How should you be treated different?
M: People should be kind.
No doubt M does not quite make the connection between the way people were treated for the color of their skin then. And, he would not be prepared to understand the ways it still happens today. For M, everyone should be treated different. People should be kind.
Our hopes will be this view of the world will not change. Our hopes will be this view of the world will change.
I hope M does not lose this view of the world. Maybe we could socialize our children early that everyone should be treated kind. It will be difficult. Grown people who should lead the way fail at it. We would have to meet every instance of unkindness with a counter explanation. Not the sort of reason that we equate with rationalization. We would need to tell M and other children how we need to be more like them. Jesus said, “Unless you become like one of these children ….”
I hope M does lose this view of the world. If we could agree to chart a new course for our children, one where they teach us rather than they do what we do, the calls for kindness would decrease. The world created by those who become like one of these children would be one where the necessity for a day of remembrance would be no more. Hearing the words, “I choose love over hate,” would serve as a museum piece rather than a reminder we have a long way to go.
And the children will lead us. We can hope.