• Deborah Charles-Nelson

"You are more than the colour of your skin, son..."


With everything that has been going on in the world; with the covid-19 pandemic and racial injustices that have been plastered all over social media, I've really had to think:

"What is my fight?"

"How can I make real change?"

"What can I do beyond just reposting the stories of my fallen black brothers and sisters?"


And, for me, that was to mother. The real work for me isn't in protesting on the streets (everyone has their lane), but to change the narrative in my home, and that starts with affirming my black son and teaching him to love, love and love again.

You may ask what I'm doing to teach my son about race, so I thought I'd write a short blog post on it. Let me know if you have any other positive methods on teaching your kids about race, or even if you just want to talk. This is a safe space...


Alright, let's get into it:


Remember: Representation Matters

I've bought books that champion black representation.

A few favourites of mine are the ones I've linked below:

SKIN LIKE MINE by L. M. Perry

THERE'S RICE AT HOME by M. P. Agbabiaka

WHEN GOD MADE YOU by M. P. Turner

WHO CAN? ETHAN CAN! (personalised book)


Affirm Your Children, and Make No Apologies for It!

I speak positivity over my son's life. On too many occasions, have I heard young black boys and girls say, "my teacher said I would never make it" or " a kid at school said my hair isn't nice {because of the 'coily' texture]." And it is my job to change that narrative as his 'first' teacher: his mother. I tell him (and will continue to into his old age) that he is intelligent, that he is handsome, that he has beautiful hair, that he is kind, that he is a problem solver, a world-changer and, above all ... loved.


Praise Good Character

It's amazing watching little kids. They have no regard for colour at all: I saw the sweetest little clip pop up on social media a few weeks ago, and it was of two adorable boys – black and white – running with so much joy to embrace each other. And actually, we can learn a lot from them. My son will play with anyone as long as it involves cars, music or anything messy (lol he couldn't care less about what you look like) and maybe we need to adopt this approach. To love people based on character and not colour. As a black mother, I am going to make it my mission to teach Ethan to love, and know that he is worthy of that reciprocation.


"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character."

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., 1963


Encourage Your Kids to Have a Voice

Although Ethan is only 2 years old, I encourage him to speak up if he doesn't like something.

Me: Can I have a kiss Ethan?

My son: NO, Mummy.

Me: Okay sweetie that's okay, Mummy won't give you a kiss if you don't want it.

(the same does NOT go for him eating his vegetables though lol – let's not get crazy here!)

But I believe stuff like this helps kids to feel empowered to make their own decisions. And hopefully one day they will feel bold enough to be able to speak up against injustice, if and when they see it.


Be the Example You Want to See

As a parent, I have to be very aware of (and intentional with) my actions. I don't know how many times I catch Ethan singing a song that he's heard at 9am on the TV, and is still singing before he goes to bed at night. Or, if I'm cleaning, Ethan will run to his room and get some baby wipes and imitate my exact movements to the letter. Kids are sponges, and they are always watching.

This spills over to the friends that Ethan sees me around. I've had to assess myself: do I have a diverse network of friends? Or do they all look like me?

Is your Instagram account filled with clones of perfectly-sized women? Or only one race? We have to ask ourselves these questions, and then actively work to change it!

This is absolutely fundamental in us understanding and respecting other cultures, and raising well-versed and cultured children that respect others.


This is Bigger than Us...

Remember: we are not doing this for social media clout. It's not just a hashtag or a trending topic. The Black Lives Matter movement is for all the generations to come; our grandchildren, and their children after that. This is bigger than us.

And I am choosing to remain hopeful that change will come – and SOON, might I add!


Peace, Love and Blessings

Simply Deborah

xo

©2018 by Simply Deborah