As we walk through our current sermon series, “World Gone Wild,” we find ourselves truly walking through difficult times most fitting of the series title. Navigating the complexities of a worldwide pandemic has also evolved into a time in which we are also confronting many current injustices and having some much needed racial conversations.
Our Kids Director, Cynthia Fluker, recently posted on her Instagram page a few of her personal experiences, and after receiving an influx of responses from parents asking how to have conversations about race and racism in their homes, decided to share some insight and resources for this.
Many parents responded to her post and said that they had always felt it was important to teach their kids not to see the different skin colors, but are now realizing the importance in seeing, honoring and celebrating one another’s differences.Before working at Hillside, Cynthia was a teacher for seven years, and at one point, taught a class of all white students and one Black girl, who was rarely played with. One boy eventually revealed to Cynthia that though he liked her, he was afraid of playing with her as he believed other kids would be mean to him.
Though this scenario relates to children, it could likely be applied to many of us today – wanting to stand up and speak out about what is right and wrong, but afraid of the response or potential backlash.
Children already see race and color, but when we are silent or don’t talk about it with them, kids will draw their own conclusions and ideas. If you aren’t teaching them, it’s likely the world will – whether that be T.V., media or their friends. It’s especially important for them to know the ugly and hard parts of the history of our country, so that we can prevent the same mistakes from ever happening again.
Our kids are not just the future generation – they’re the generation of now. They are watching us. We have to teach our kids that people are different. God created us all different but yet, uniquely in His image. Show them that our differences don’t have to divide us, but they add beauty, culture, and bring different gifts to the Kingdom of God.
While you still hold the most influence with your children, use that time to be intentional about race. From the color representation of the toys you buy for them to the books you are reading, teach them that all races and colors are beautiful. Don’t try to keep them from seeing color because God said everything that He made is good and has a purpose. If you find yourself intimidated or overwhelmed at where to start in having these conversations, start by praying and asking God for wisdom and knowledge. Dig deep into His Word.
In John 13:34-35, Jesus says, “A new command I give you. Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
Then the Word of God tells us what love is. In 1 Corinthians 13 it says, “Love does not delight in evil but rejoices in truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always preservers.”
Once this type of love is engraved onto our hearts and our minds, and in our homes, then we can truly begin to model what racial equality should look like in our homes.
At the beginning of this year we said, “The Best is Yet to Come”… and we still believe that! God is not done with us. He is refining us as a nation, as a people, and as children of God. We have some tough roads to conquer up ahead, but only with God is there hope. We are praying that the conversations in our homes, across our cities and our world would lead us further toward health, unity, and reconciliation.
- Exploring Justice: One of the fundamental characteristics that set human beings apart from other creatures that God created is their need for justice. Check out this website and learn more about Biblical justice.
- Talking About Race: Whether talking about race is a part of daily life or it’s a subject that can be difficult to discuss, it’s an incredibly important conversation. Check out this article for helpful info.
- Black History Month: This article has some really valuable resources that help your child learn more about Black culture and the diversity in our communities. Click here to read.
- “Jesus Is Not Colorblind”: A colorblind mentality contradicts both the nature of the God we worship and also the Scriptures we treasure. Check out this article for six reasons we should not embrace colorblindness.
- “A Colorblind Church In A Diverse Kingdom”: We all bear the image of God, and Jesus’ kingdom is not one of uniformity, but beautiful, unified diversity. Read more here.
- “The Bridge To Racial Unity”: The goal of this guide is to provide a resource that would allow for bridges to be built not only between cultures, but between people. Click here to purchase.