Tag Archives: change

On Ferguson and Peace

peace 2The news headlines say the grand jury in Ferguson has reached a decision. A city stands braced for protests. The expectation is violence will again rock the small Missouri town, a town which once stood unknown in the heartland of America and has become the focal point of the race conflict that still pulses through this land.

The only facts that are agreed upon are these:

1. Michael Brown, an African-American teen, was shot and killed by Darren Wilson, a white police officer.

2. Michael Brown was unarmed.

Beyond these two statements, there is little that has been agreed upon in the court of public opinion. Differing accounts of the events have forged a wedge that originates in the small Midwest town and reaches from shore to shining shore.

Honestly, I haven’t followed the news of this case carefully, nor have I examined the facts. I certainly don’t sit on the grand jury, the only individuals that have (hopefully) been presented the comprehensive facts upon which to draw a conclusion about any possible indictment of Darren Wilson.  I simply don’t have enough information to draw any conclusions, nor would it be prudent to express an opinion based on media bites.

Here’s what I do know: I know that children come into this world without hate in their hearts. They do not see the color of another’s skin before they see another human being. I know that children want and deserve to live in a world filled with peace. And, I know there is not now nor has there ever been a parent that dreams of the day their child will experience violence, either close up or from afar.

Here’s what else I know: Children are taught the color of skin makes someone different, just as they can be taught the color of our skin is determined by melanin. They are taught hate, just as they can be taught love. They are taught intolerance, just as they can be taught acceptance. They are taught violence through example, just as they can be taught peaceful resolution. They are taught to judge, just as they can be taught to tolerate. And, children who learn to judge become adults who hate.

Sure, some might say it’s easy for me to preach when I haven’t had my child stopped at a store based on the color of his/her skin.  I know I cannot, regardless of how hard I try, possibly truly understand what the world looks like through the eyes of someone who has been discriminated against based on their race or their religion. The small amount of discrimination I have faced as a woman doesn’t possibly cast the smallest flicker of a shadow compared to what others have faced. I am not naïve, but I am a mother, and like all mothers I want my children to know peace in this world, not a world filled with hate because someone is the wrong color or religion or from the wrong neighborhood. And, as a mother, I can choose to teach love and continue to pray my children and my children’s children will live in a world where differences are merely differences, not determinants.

Tonight, my prayers are with and for the people of Ferguson, this country, and our world.

Let there be peace on earth
And let it begin with me.
~Seymour Miller & Jill Jackson, “Let There Be Peace on Earth,” 1955

A half-century plus one

Anticipate the day as if it was yourToday is day 14 of NaBloPoMo. It’s also my birthday, and today I turn a half-century plus one. That’s what I told one of the boys I tutor yesterday when he asked how old I was turning. I watched the thrill brighten his face when he arrived at the answer.

“You’re 51!,” he proclaimed before he was quickly hushed by his older brother for being “rude.”

“No, he’s not rude,” I corrected, “I told him my age as a riddle, and he solved it. Plus, I have no problem being 51 because 51 is a pretty darn good age to be.” A cloud of consideration softened the sharp focus of the older boy as he pondered my words and, simultaneously, a tickle of excitement built inside of me. I’ve come to realize that the older I get, the more child-like my enthusiasm for my birthday grows. One might say I’m becoming more immature as I mature, and I might agree.

It is a privilege to turn 51. Many never see this birthday. Even more don’t like what they see when they reach 51. Heck, many don’t like what they see at 27! I, however, am thrilled to be celebrating my birthday and I have a plethora of related thoughts bouncing around in my head, screaming to be shared here.

Those will have to wait, though, for today I am taking the day to play and celebrate and I invite you to celebrate with me. Find something fun to do today; have cake for breakfast (or dinner, if you are reading this later), blow some bubbles, watch a favorite movie, release a balloon, color a picture, soak in a tub filled with bubbles, or pop a bottle of bubbly. I may do all of those. Whatever you do, be creative and be playful, because that is what I want for my birthday–a wave of playfulness!

Now, go play, but before you go, share with me what fun you will get into today.