Scripts and scraps from my real-life parenting sitcom.
"Do You Hate Black People?"

This story from the Daddy Complex is heartbreaking, and I had to share it.

My wife was at the market when she overheard a black woman arguing with her pre-teen son. The woman emphatically repeated, “It’s not true! It’s just not true!”

The woman then led her son over to my wife and this conversation followed…

Woman: Excuse me, may I ask you a question? Are you what’s considered white?
Wife: Uh… Yes.
Woman: And do you hate black people?
Wife: God, no.

The woman then turned to her son and said, “See? Not all white people hate black people. Your friends are wrong.”

My wife immediately felt simultaneous senses of heartbreak that any young black kid would believe that and hope that this interaction could, in some way, help. But, she knew anything she said would seem outweighed by the countless acts of murder perpetrated upon black youths week after week. Even hearing it from someone standing right in front of you doesn’t compare to visions on TV of dead black children lying on America’s streets.

My wife told the young man about our boys’ best friend, whose dad is black, and how we consider their family an extension of our own. (Admittedly, it’s a version of the “some of my best friends are black” cliché, but in this case it directly applied.) She also talked about the many other people of color in our lives that we love. She said to the boy, “I’m white and I don’t hate you.”

The woman thanked my wife, then guided her son on their shopping errand. My wife felt as stunned as she imagined the other mother did. She thought, Is this what is happening? Is this what continues to happen in 2014? And far more chilling, Is this what children think the world is supposed to be like?

My hope is that the boy felt stunned, too—stunned that, despite violent and unjust evidence to the contrary, there’s an overwhelming number of people who care for others without stipulations, without allowances.

To that young man, wherever he is now, I want to say this:

Yes, hate exists and it seems powerful, but it isn’t. It’s weak and petty and fearful. I’m white and I don’t hate you. Because love is strength. In fact, tell your friends you are each loved by many, many strong people of all races, all colors. And I want each of you to know that love conquers hate. Always.

I promise.

It almost seems like each week brings new stories of black men shot by white cops. Michael Brown, John Crawford, Levar Jones. Then there’s NYC stop and frisk, and the racial imbalance behind Stand Your Ground laws in court, and… hey white America, you’ve got a problem.

I’ve been tagging some of it over at Read On the Internet, but it’s overwhelming.  And I’m a white person who only recently woke up to the systemic racial issues around me.

And as demonstrated in David Vienna’s story, above: look what it’s doing to kids. This is insanity.

I’m interrupting my usual dad blogging with this crazy contraception video from EngenderHealth, released with the launch of its WTFP?! (Where’s the Family Planning) campaign. Longtime followers of this blog may recall that EngenderHealth is one of my favorite nonprofits (along with Modest Needs and World Vision), and that I support family planning.

If you support it too, then I encourage you to watch this, then sign up, and reblog this with the #wheresthefp hashtag.  Thanks.

Me: [reading a nature magazine] "Hey, did you know, polar bear skin is actually black? And its fur is actually made of clear tubes? It looks white because of how light reflects off of it."
Luke: [age 9] "Wow. I can use this at school."
Me: [suspiciously] "Oh? You mean, you're going to use it to make other kids look stupid?"
Luke: "Obviously."
Me: "It's not nice to make people feel insulted just because they don't know something that you do."
Luke: "Well... I'll try to be really nice about them being stupid, okay?"
“Mommy is the best mom in the whole world. And when I have kids then we’re both going to be the best mommies in the whole world. But… I know I’m supposed to kiss a boy before I have a baby. Yuck. I think I’ll just wait awhile and then adopt.”

Beth, age 6

Circle of Life

The day we came home from the hospital with Luke when he was born, the fifth grade boy across the street from us had, coincidentally, come home from school with a trombone. Not wanting to hear the instrument indoors, his parents had sent him to play it on their front lawn, where he was booming loud and unpredictable notes through it. Thanks to this noise, we couldn’t get Luke to nap, even though he obviously wanted to. We had to wait until the “concert” was over.

Last night, we went to Luke’s school to pick up the instrument he’s chosen to play in fifth grade band: the trombone.

I blame that kid across the street all those years ago.

Beth: [age 6, passes gas loudly] "Excuse me!"
Luke: "What kind of musical instrument was that?!"
Mom: "I think it was a wind instrument, but it sounds like percussion."
Luke: "If I could play /that/ instrument, I'd be the best musician in band."
“I didn’t have to ask people what they thought about it. It’s super sparkly! It just says to people, “HEY BABY, WANNA SEE MY SPARKLES? OH YEAH!””

Beth, on wearing her new sparkly Saturn shirt to school

POSTED: September 15, 2014 @ 11:00am  |   URL   |  SHARE:
“I don’t care if I have perfect hair. I’d rather have a million dollars and rule the world!”

Beth, age 6

stratus-lupus said: Just wanted to stop by and say I find your blog hilarious. They conversations you have with your kids amaze me. They always make me laugh. I don't know how you handle the things they say with a straight face sometimes. I'd start laughing like crazy a few minutes into the conversation. Lol. Your kids are so smart. I can't wait for mine to be about that age.

Thanks!  Kids are great. Just pay attention and you’ll find they say the awesomest things.  Why don’t grownups say these things? What broke inside us that makes us so much less interesting?!

And I do laugh a lot. Thank God, because it’s either gotta be humor or booze to get me through, and too often I’m running low on humor…

EDIT: hey all you — ask is open if you have questions or comments.

Me: "Beth, please go brush your teeth. We have to get out to the bus soon."
Beth: [age 6, pawing at the air] "Meow. I'm a kitty. I don't have to brush my teeth. Meow! Meow!"
Me: [rolling eyes] ""Well, that's okay. Kitties don't have to brush their teeth. But they also don't get cookies as treats in their lunchbox. I'll find you a dead fish instead."
Beth: [crossly] "Oh fine, I'll brush my teeth."