Rod and I took our Little to the Civil Rights Institute in Birmingham, AL, on Saturday and it was fab. Like really, it was quite awesome!
If you've taken the time to read a few of my more recent blog posts, you'll see where I have had some worries about my Little's confidence in who he is, and what he looks like. My aunt's good friend has raised a young, brown boy all by himself for nearly thirteen years, and while I never grew up with the mind to really talk to others about my feelings, the older I become the more I feel obligated to reach out to those wiser than me. So who better to talk to about my parental worries than this friend? Exactly, no one. After calling him up and discussing the conversation I had with my Little, one of the (many) tidbits of advice that he gave me was this: responsibly bombard my son with people who look like him that will start the conversation, and keep the conversation going about his black history and culture. We discussed doing this in the form of television, but mostly importantly, in art work and more mainstream environments.
A huge fan of reading books, I already have an array of great books for my son to read when he gets just a little bit older, so I thought a museum environment would be a good first attempt at being more proactive in giving him some culture :)
The statue and literature regarding Rosa Parks was our first Ahah! moment. Not only was this an AMAZING image of Rosa Parks, but it sparked such great conversation with my son about segregation.
One of the things I enjoyed during this quick trip to Birmingham, AL, was the Institute's gift shop. Furing our weekly trips to the library, I always make sure to grab at minimum a few books with characters that look like my son amongst the many that we read each week. The gift shop was a smorgasboard of these same books, posters for bedrooms (because I truly think, deep down, that all nineties kids can remember loving a good poster on their bedroom wall), coffee mugs (I found a great one with a pretty brown girl with natural hair!) and even bowties with African print fabric. My son was ecstatic to choose a necklace with an excerpt of text from W.E.B. Dubois and has worn it constantly since our trip. When I say he was proud, Littlebit was proud! I think with me being such a lover of writing and literature I was pleased with his choice as well. Even more so, seeing his eyes light up in a place where he was engulfed with even the simplest of things, like coloring books and stickers, that showcased black America, was one of the best moments of our trip.
As Christians, I think we are all well aware of the phrase "planting seeds," and I felt my husband and I did just that on Saturday. While we hope that our discussions regarding church, God's word and our own actions that our son sees each and every day plant seeds of God's truth on a regular basis, aiding our son in growing up to be a true lover of God and people, I hope we planted some seeds this weekend that will start an ongoing and continuous discussion about who our Little is and why God created him to be exactly who he is.