Brown

My 2 1/2 year old pointed out today that our neighbor is brown.  She was making a general observation.  There was none of the nonsense adults can incorporate into the recognition of differences amongst us.  Still, it felt like one of those significant moments in parenting.  My daughter is surrounded by diversity and I’ve often wondered how her processing of these differences would play out.  Part of me believed her exposure to diversity would somehow dull her need to notice differences.  Yet, she did notice.

My mommy brain started swirling with all of the important lessons and messages I should give her at this key moment.  I only paused for a second or two.  I had an eloquent speech to organize on the fly.  In that time of pause my daughter had the nerve to move on to another subject.  She wanted to talk about bugs on the window when I was finally ready to share valuable words of wisdom and insight.  She was ready to carry on with her day as if nothing significant had happened.  And that’s when it hit me, nothing significant had happened.  My daughter noted our neighbor was brown and it was no big deal…to her.  And I was foolishly ready to make it a big deal.  He was still our neighbor to her.  He was still a person.  He was still great on a bike.  He was still someone to wave to.  He was all of the things he was before.  She already knew the lesson I was preparing to teach her.  She already knew our differences were of little concern.  She said he was brown as she says my toenails are red.  She was talking through her eyes; not judging with them.

I learned a valuable lesson today.  I realized that letting our kids observe their world at times without inserting our own thoughts and insight may be the best way to have what isn’t supposed to be a big deal stay that way.  Down the road, there may be a time when that eloquent speech I’ve stored in my mind will come in handy.  Until then, I’m going to do my best to calm down and remember I’ve got years to produce a good world citizen.  I need not try to pack everything in at the tender age of 2 1/2.

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