Let’s be honest with ourselves; we are all going to mess up our kids in some form or fashion because we are all human and nobody is perfect (regardless of what I tell my husband, that I’m the most perfect). My parents had me when they were teenagers, and even with the most love and the best intentions, I was bound to be a little screwed up. I know my kid won’t be perfect, but our main priority as parents is to focus on raising good humans. If 2020 has taught us anything, is that this world could use a few more good humans.
Raising good humans, what does that even mean? To us, it means crazy love. Loving everybody, regardless of where they come from or what they look like. It starts with love.
I don’t care if our child isn’t the smartest kid in class or a good athlete (sorry kid, probably not in the cards for you), but he will take care of others and do his part to make this world a better place. How am I so sure he will be a good human? I mean, I can’t be 100% sure, but what I can be sure of is we, as his parents, we will be the best examples we can be and do our part now to raise a good human.
Also, teaching him that love isn’t always enough. I used to think that love and raising a good person was enough. I’ve now learned it’s not. That we also need to not only teach our children but educate ourselves on the experiences of our brothers and sisters of color and of our privilege as a white middle-class family.
I recently listened to a podcast, The Integrated Schools Project, and the episode was titled, “Raising White Kids with Jennifer Harvey.” She talks about how our white children don’t experience racism; therefore, they will never understand the experiences of black and brown kids. While they will never understand, we need to teach our children that racism is real, but we have a choice of how we can use our white privilege. Use our white privilege by learning to be an ally. This is part of the example we will be for our children in teaching them to be good humans.
We made a choice to live in Fountain Square, close to downtown so that our children would be in an IPS district (I realize this is part of our privilege, the choice of where we want to live because not everyone gets that choice). We wanted our children to learn alongside children and educators of different colors and different backgrounds. We hope that by doing this, it will teach our children to be good humans and good allies.
I realize racism and everything people of color experience is much more complex. I know that if the only challenge we have is raising a good human, than we do have a lot of privilege. I also believe that we are making a small step in focusing on raising good, kind humans. The resounding message right now is we have to do better, and we know we have to do better as parents to raise a generation that will make changes. I think that silver lining in the pain we are seeing now is hopefully our children will all grow up in a better, loving world.