From doing just a little bit of reflecting on my past writings this weekend, catching the new movie ’12 Years a Slave’, to watching the 3rd Annual Black Girls Rock show on BET, I am even more convinced that the energy we put into our children can be as important, if not more important, than the energy we put in ourselves.
My realization of this started on Friday. I was sitting in my living room, re-reading some of my work aloud. My six-year-old overheard me from the kitchen as she played with her play-do on the kitchen floor. Surprisingly to me, she stepped away from her pasty fun and stepped closer to me to hear me read my work. I’m not sure if she really enjoyed what I was saying or was impressed by the idea of being able to develop my own thoughts and have them on a platform (such as my blog because that’s what I was reading from at the time). Either way, I made her feel some sort of way and she proceeded to say, “I want to write a poem, mommy”. I immediately stopped what I was doing. I directed her to her room to her pile of art and writing resources. She then began to tell me what she wanted her poem to read and I simply spelled the more complex words for her. In that moment, I realized that what I did; the dreams I did or didn’t follow mattered to what she’d do with her own thoughts and interests. She was interested in what I was able to do and didn’t hesitate to replicate the act.
Saturday I went to go see ’12 Years a Slave’ (a movie I insist everyone, regardless of age, race, culture, etc to go see). I was hesitant about taking my daughter because of her young age. I heard it was very graphic and depicted the strongest reality of what slavery was. I’m very familiar with the history of blacks in America so I wasn’t quite sure I wanted to expose her to those type of injustices just yet. I am so glad that I did; however. Besides having to cover eyes at certain points throughout the film, at the end of the movie, she and I were able to have a conversation at her level to talk about what the movie was all about. In that moment, I realized its important not to downplay what reality is, but educate her on the good and the bad, so that she can move more realistically throughout her life and not be shell-shocked whenever she encounters its face. I was able to explain to her that life will have its setbacks, its challenges – be it people, things, or situations, but knowing that life is still possible of living to its fullest was the lesson I was able to relay to her.
And finally on Sunday, I was able to finally catch BET’s show, ‘Black Girls Rock’. It’s a show primarily about appreciating the self as created and knowing that you are beautiful and full of the ability to do great things and positively impact the your family, communities, and the world. I made my daughter watch it and she was empowered by it.
All in all, this weekend was full of growth moments for not just my daughter, but me as a parent. I know that my every move, my every decision, my choices in what I expose my daughter to develop her in such a way that will determine how hard she lives life. I don’t know about you, but I want my daughter to live life hard. I want her to know that any belief, decision, or dream she has isn’t impossible, but full of the potential and action she puts into it. As Proverbs 22:6 reads: “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” I will do this as best as I am able and hopefully she will do the same.