Hey, girl. Happy Thursday! I have a little hope-for-humanity here for you today. Such a profoundly and simply beautiful experience. And one that has humbled me, deeply. Here’s what happened:
I am involved in planning a class party for the kids at my son’s school. A costume party. History-Mystery we call it. I write parts for all the kids to play, they come in character, and have to solve a mystery by sharing “clues” with each other from character books they are given at the beginning of the evening. I write the whole thing. It’s a very fun night.
Monday morning I sent a list of characters to school for the kids to choose from. In writing up the list, I looked at the kids in my son’s class and very carefully chose characters that would allow them to play someone who looked like them. I wanted the kids to be able to identify with their character, to be able to choose someone like themselves. I found loads of great, inspiring characters of all colors and ethnicities and sent the list to school.
This morning, my son gave me the list back, crumpled, and with something sticky on the second page. I started to enter the names in my computer and immediately noticed something that surprised me. None of the kids had chosen the characters I’d thought they would. What? What is this?
Then I looked more closely. The white kid who chose to play Fredrick Douglas is an orator. The quiet engineer of the group chose Leonardo da Vinci; the quiet engineer is Korean. The Slovak smart kid with the slightly rebellious streak chose to play Hiro Takachiho, the Japanese whiz kid from Hero 6. The Hispanic jokester chose Tom Sawyer. The kid who loves magic chose Frodo Baggins. The swimmer chose Percy Jackson. And on it went.
They did choose characters they identified with, and it had absolutely zero to do with skin color.
I was gobsmacked. Speechless and profoundly humbled. I had thought I was being open-minded to be sure that the kids all had characters “like them” to choose from. The kids showed me how shallow my assumptions were.
The kids couldn’t care less what the ethnicity of their character is. They looked at qualities much deeper than that.
I am proud, deeply humbled, and have so very much more hope for humanity this morning. Our kids are better than we are, Mamma. Or at least my kids are better than I am, but I’m learning.
And I can’t wait for this party.