Well the Bloom boys have certainly questioned my ability to express the truth, in a form that they can understand, without oversimplifying but also without making the world too scary.
M has a book on Martin Luther King Jr that he keeps in the car with him. One of the first few pages, which is usually as far into it as he gets, states that "people with brown skin were not allowed to go to restaurants, school or other places with people with white skin". Now 9 times out of 10 a child would read this and his family would help him to understand, but his family would have the same color skin as him. However, in a caucasian family with adopted children who are black, this sentence is really causing M some drama and anxiety. He cannot figure out why he would not be allowed to do things with his bubbe- his beloved grandma. To him this makes life unlivable. And it certainly doesnt help when he asked how long ago this was, that all I can say is that my mom was a little girl when racism was still very prevalent.
Unfortunately, this is now the 3rd time we have had this talk, and each time we have been in the car, so instead of being able to snuggle with him and help him to make sense, I am doing some intense task, like driving on the highway, and he is hammering me with questions- questions that all I can hope for is to answer them in some way that put his mind at ease. Questions that are impossible for me to understand the answers too, so obviously really impossible for any 8 year old child. How do you explain racism? Stupidity? Judgement against others?
My answer- I basically decided that he needed to know that if he was being attacked that his family would go with him, so what did I do- I told him about the holocaust- cause that made sense right----hey M guess what, not only was there a time that people treated people with brown skin badly, but there was also a time where Jewish people were treated badly---so the only benefit is that if jewish people were treated badly today, we would all be treated badly as a family- better?
Oyyyy- in the end he and I decided that we would make an island so that people who were mean to other people would go live on the island- an island for bad people we called it.....now I am only hoping that if I bring this book in the house, we can read it together and maybe I will have a better explanation next time around!
Fast forward to Sunday morning.....D and J are in the tub, talking about pee, and water and washing themselves- all good topics when a 6 year old and a 3 year old are taking a bath. We had skipped Sunday school this morning, and I was feeling a little guilty but out of nowherer, D says- "what color is god". After I am done gushing that he even thinks about these things, again it is time for me to come up with an answer- "i have no idea" what color IS god????? So I turn it back around to him.....his answer "god is yellow" duh, of course god is yellow, why wouldnt he be?
I love that for him it was simplistic. I love even more that God is his favorite color. I love that on a day we skipped sunday school he was still thinking religiously....but I will remember next time, that if we go to Sunday school, someone else gets to struggle with these big life questions!
- I am a single mom of three amazing boys! All three of my sons entered my family through adoption. All three of my boys have developmental disabilities. My oldest son, Matthew has been diagnosed with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and Bipolar Disorder. David, my middle son, has a genetic condition, he has a duplication on his 15th chromosome which leads to autism like symptoms, seizures and learning challenges. My youngest son, Jacob has learning disabilities. Each of my children bring unique challengs to our family and also bring their own personality and joys to our everyday life!