Wednesday, January 19, 2011


Sigh. Well, I'm sorry to brag, but I just have to share. If you don't want to read about it, just stop now!

First, Adin was pushing buttons on my heart rate monitoring watch. He said, "Why does this say 'off'?" I asked to see it. In my normal use of the watch it doesn't display the word off. Sure enough, it said 'off'. I asked how he knew it said off and he read me the letters, although he did read them right to left (F-F-O) instead of left to right (O-F-F). So at naptime we read a book and looked for the word 'off' in it. Adin's not so keen on napping these days, so it can be a bit of a struggle getting him to stay in bed. I was kneeling next to his bed, reaching to get something and he said, "Ah-cuse [excuse]me, I would like to get out of bed." Even for the ultra polite two year old, no you cannot get out of bed!

I've been reading books about race, books that report ethnic minorities talk with their children about race more than white parents do. And that often liberal white parents expose their children to other children of different backgrounds but don't talk about race. When that happens, the white kids notice that the kids all have different colored skin, but also notice that their parents and teachers don't talk about it. And the kids try to think of their own reasons why this is, and they may be coming up with different ideas from what the parents assume (we're all the same, we're all equal).

Which is a very long way to introduce that I've been trying to have age appropriate discussions with Erik about race, even though it's very uncomfortable for me. So on Monday, I mentioned briefly to him that he didn't have school that day, and that it was a holiday. I told him MLK's name and explained very briefly that it used to be that white kids and black kids went to different schools and MLK worked to change that. And that's all I said, and we didn't talk about it again. When I picked Erik up from preschool later in the week, his teacher told me quietly that he was the only one in the class who knew who MLK was! I didn't get a chance to get the whole story from her, and Erik won't tell me about school, so that's all I know. I'm quite proud, though, that he remembered and that he somehow seems to have been able to talk about it in school.


Karen said...

I'm proud to say both my kids know who MLK is (though I don't think they have any grasp of race or civil rights). At our daycare they got copies of his picture, with a space to draw a picture about their own dream. We hung them on the fridge, and Timothy toddles over there and points and says "King."

I hope their generation will be the one that realizes the Dream.

Anne said...

Karen, I am wondering if they talked about Dr. King at daycare. Erik's preschool teacher had the kids draw a picture of their dreams. She said her dream is that everyone would have their own house, so that's what a lot of the kids said, too. That's a good idea to put Dr. King's picture on your fridge. I'll have to see if I can print one off.