Being a mother to kids right now might be exactly as you can imagine. It is exciting and rewarding but it is also challenging, exhausting and stressful. There are many things that parents are concerned with on a daily basis; am I hugging my kids enough? Are they getting enough sleep, eating a balanced diet, getting adequate exercise? Are they meeting all of their developmental milestones? Do they watch too much tv or play too many video games? Are they being bullied or worse are they bullying someone? Do they behave when I’m not around? There are so many things that parents across the country worry about day in and day out. There are so many things that parents have to teach their kids to ensure that they are their best selves…that they are growing into loving, caring, productive citizens and lead fulfilling lives. Now imagine if you were tasked with all of those things at once AND you had to teach your children that when they leave the house everyday, they will encounter people who wish to do them harm just because they have brown skin? That there are people who don’t care whether they live or die? Your stress level goes from 100 to 1,000,000.
There are many things that we as parents have control over when it comes to our kids. We have the ability to teach them love and not hate. We can instill in them respect for all people, ESPECIALLY marginalized populations. Teach them to be empathetic as well as sympathetic. Talk to them about what micro-aggressions are so that they are not saying things that can hurt and offend people. Don’t be afraid to have those tough conversations with your kids. Teach them to use their privilege to help people. A lot of people will turn a blind eye to situations that they don’t feel have a direct impact on them, instead of using their voices to help amplify those voices that aren’t being heard. If you see something that is wrong don’t be afraid to stand up. There is definitely strength and power in numbers. Become an ally, help how you can. There are safe ways to help in every fight. I know that we can’t all be on the front lines of every protest but we can assist with getting the word out to others who may be unaware. Social media is a huge resource and tool for spreading and receiving information. I would also caution you to be mindful of the images and information being put out there by mainstream media. It is their job to help keep the narrative going that certain people are the ones responsible for crime. Listen to the words used to describe similar crimes by white and black people when you watch the news. Look at the images that they show and then how long they show them. It helps to keep people scared and deepen the divide. There are lots of great fundraising efforts happening right now to assist with the protesters that have been arrested over the last week. There are some really great pages highlighting books that could be used to foster some conversation with children of all ages. Also I suggest not only shopping small but shopping black and small. There are tons of small black owned businesses and as you know, small shops change and help families.
– Carmen Knight