Teach Your Children

Teach your children well. If necessary, use words. Mostly though, get them involved with other children of all races, ethnicities, socioeconomic groups, political groups, and differently abled groups. It will teach them love, acceptance, and respect for others that they won’t find on their own.

I was never exposed to people of color until I was in the third grade in 1970. My teacher, Miss Bazy, was the first black person I ever met and I was terrified simply because she was different. At the end of the first week of school, she asked me to stay after class. I was a shy, quiet kid who never got in trouble so I was scared. Everyone left and she asked me to come up to her at her desk. All 35 pounds of me was shaking with nerves. She didn’t say a word, but took my hand in hers and held it for a minute or two, smiling gently all the while. Then she turned my hand over, palm side up, and asked me, “Did your hand turn black because you held my black hand?” Of course I shook my head no. She then said, “Honey, I’m not going to hurt you. I’m just like you except God colored me differently than you.” Then she gave me the sweetest hug I EVER got from a teacher before or since. I burst into tears because I was so ashamed for being afraid. She just held me and patted my back as I told her I was so sorry. I believe the most important thing I learned that year took place in a 10 minute lesson. She was a great teacher, don’t get me wrong, but I’ve especially never forgotten that moment.

Ever since that day I’ve understood we are all the same in many ways. We are all human, have basic needs, wishes, emotions, attachments, and gifts. We all deserve respect and dignity, compassion and empathy. We all need to teach our children well. That is how we will change the world now and in the future.

It all starts here…

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