Four Ways We can Talk to our Kids about Racism

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The issue that is currently heavy in our nation is weighty inside my house as well. Shades of color sit around my living room and traipse down the grocery aisles with me.

As a mom of white kids and kids of color, my family must invest time and energy into this problem called racism.

You too, care about this issue. That is why we read blogs and we listen to each other and we work towards the best way forward.

It starts with us parents, directing words and ideas and hopes towards our kids.

We want our kids to be a part of the solution.

Before our kids can ACT right, they need to THINK right.

But it can feel big and overwhelming. Yes it can.
Where do we begin?
How much of the hard stuff should our kids know?
How do we start these conversations?

But those conversations really need to happen, so let’s get practical.

Here are four ways we talk about racism in our home:

1. We tell our kids what Jesus thinks.
For our family, it always comes back to this: we want to do things God’s way.

Who is he? What does he love?
He fights for justice. (Isaiah 58)
He frees those who are held captive. (Isaiah 61)
He invites us ALL into his family. (Matthew 12:28)
He defends the oppressed. (Psalm 82:3)
He shows NO favoritism. (Acts 10:34)

We are all equally loved and our kids need to hear those words spoken plainly.

For a free printable devotional I’ve written for our families, click the link below.
It is full of questions and intended to be read aloud by a parent. I hope you find it helpful.
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2. We teach our kids they are powerful.
No matter what shade of brown their skin glows, every kid needs to know they are influential.

God did not give our kids a spirit of fear but a spirit of power. Actually, the very same Spirit of God that rose Jesus from the dead, now lives inside of our kids. It doesn’t get more powerful than that! (See 2 Timothy 1:7 and Romans 8:11)

As our kids embrace their inner dynamite, they will see unjust situations as opportunities and they will see themselves as world changers.

They are powerful influencers of their culture, powerful enough to halt injustice in the best way possible.

3. We let our kids experience minorityhood.

For four years, our family lived as minorities overseas and we are much the wiser for it.

Our pale kids need to know what it feels like to be outnumbered. When our boys are the only non-girl in the gymnastics class or our family attends a church service spoken in a language unknown to us, that is a very good thing.

A solidarity rises up from the kids who have walked a step in another’s shoes. While our white kids’ experiences will never be the same as the experiences of people of color, it gives them a shred of understanding.

Personally, I think this is a great excuse to travel the world with our kids. What we don’t do for those kids. (Read tongue in cheek by every parent who has itchy feet.)

4. We look for hidden racism in our own hearts.

Oh, this one is hard. Confronting the deep places inside is a whole other story and it makes flying to developing counties with toddlers look like a holiday. Which it’s not. Ever.

We as parents must all take responsibility for the prejudice and superiority in our own hearts. Even if it is small and cowering in the corner. And we must teach our kids to do the same.

But how do we know?

This racism scale was developed over the summer and is quite helpful for recognizing thought patterns. It points us from justification towards awareness and abolition. Take a look; it’s worth your time!

Any sincere seeking is met by God himself who has been fighting for equality since his people’s beginning. He wants racism to be found and eradicated.

Parents, I believe in us. We have influence over those little dynamites like no one else does.

The conversations need to start with us. Let’s not leave this for the school counselor or the Sunday school teacher or hope our kids just stay loving forever. Let’s do this with intention.

What would happen if an entire generation of kids grew up knowing God and knowing their true powerful identities? Those kids could tackle any problem and bring reconciliation to any place, any time.
Imagine!

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2 Comments

  1. This is really, really good, Carissa. Thankful for your ministry.

    • Aww, thanks friend. This is a message I'll keep hollering about because I believe God's doing something good there.

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