Sunday, November 9, 2008

To My Child


Within the next week a letter on this topic applicable to all ages will be published.

On the evening of November 4, 2008, I watched the nation, the world, come together to celebrate a great milestone. From the solitary comfort of our family’s home, I joined millions of people from thousands of miles away as we came together to celebrate and become a part of a beautiful indescribable celebration of the moment, our history and a new era.

As I was living this experience, I thought of you. I couldn’t help the sadness that washed over me with the realization that while this was happening in your lifetime, you were too young to understand. For a moment I selfishly thought of what you were missing. I wished for you to be older so you could share in the gift of this experience.

I then realized that you too had just been the recipient of a gift. One much greater than the one I had the honor of receiving. One that would one have been rejected by your great great grandparents, misunderstood by your great grandparents, quietly accepted by your grandparents, longed for by your parents and embraced by you. Accepted with pure innocence. You will be part of a generation that truly has the ability to see people as they are, without the barrier of skin color, the stigma of a history of separation. In a few years, you will begin to explore the world around you. When your parents instruct you to pay attention when the President addresses the nation, we will still be in awe we are listening to the first African American President. But to you, he will not be the first black president. He will simply be the President.

We, in what could be considered a self centered view, take pride in the fact we are blessed to live to see this great milestone. We had a part in making this happen we will say. We were part of a movement. We helped shape history. Isn’t this what every generation wants? To truly play a role in changing the world? In making it a better place. While all of these statements may be true, we have not yet seen the true awe inspiring effect of what has been accomplished. This will not be delivered to us in a grandiose fashion. It will happen gradually. With you. In an unassuming way, you will unknowingly guide us to a new frontier. When you see President as simply the President without race entering your mind. When you encourage the dreams and aspirations of your African American friends in the same manner you encourage those of your white friends. When you allow yourself to have an appreciation of our contrasting histories, while maintaining an equal appreciation for who we all are today. When “CEO” does not naturally create an image of a white male. When “Single Mother” does not naturally create an image of a black woman. When “college student” does not mean “young white adult”. When the thought of sending your children to a primarily black public school does not create of picture of a broken building, a substandard education. When racial slurs are not written off because of a person’s age or childhood home.

Some may see me as overly optimistic. Do you really think this will happen in your child’s lifetime, they will ask. Yes, I do. They will question me. Will the next generation have the ability to see people as they are without race creating pre-conceived thoughts. Yes, they will. Can we really live to see the events of this night change the world, they will ask. Yes, we can.


colbymarshall said...

very was a historic moment for us all!

Kristine said...

What a great idea. My grandma wrote a couple of stories about her life addressed to her grandchildren. She's passed away now and I was so appreciative. This is going to mean so much to your child at the right age.