Today, at church, I sat three rows behind a white couple. The husband had long blond hair, sun glasses on his head and wore jeans with a knife in a leather holder on his belt. The wife had styled redish-brown hair and she wore a flowered dress. Next to the wife sat a beautiful little girl. The little girl was about five years old and she sat still and quiet during the whole ninety minute service. The little girl was black and they were the most beautiful family I saw today.
As I watched them, it brought back so many memories of growing up the same way. I couldn’t wait for service to be over so I could introduce myself and just let them know, “hey, I understand.” Gathering them all in my arms, I wanted to assure them that things would be tough but they would be OK.
I wanted to knee down and look the little girl in the eyes and tell her everything I learned from behind those same eyes.
“Concentrate on the good that your parents show you not the bad that some people will show you ,” I planned to tell her. I wanted to protect this little girl that I didn’t even know.
Then it occurred to me. That little girl was me. These were things I wished I had been able to say to myself as I grew up. I wished I could have knelt down, looked my five year old self in the face, and just told him; “you are ok, it is not you. It is the situation, the multi-racial family, that they do not understand and that has nothing to do with you. They are not rejecting you.”
The family left right after church and I never got to talk to them but I had a great conversation with myself. A conversation I should have had long ago.
If you could sit down with the five year old you, what would you say? What would you tell them? Please share that conversation below.