Have you ever tried to describe something REALLY basic to somebody and found it very difficult to do? I remember during my time in Ukraine with TLC, our team was excited because on July 4th we were gonna eat some AMERICAN food! We had sent over a large shipment of supplies (Christian literature, Bibles, etc.), and included in that had been stuff for Larry Hobbs to prepare us some meals, particularly for the 4th of July. Our interpreter and friend, Sergei, was amused by how excited we were to be having spaghetti, and a dessert called CHOCOLATE PUDDING. He began to inquire of us, what is chocolate pudding? So the descriptions began: well, "it's this smooth, brown, globby stuff that you eat with a spoon, it has chocolate flavor and sort of goes down on it's own...." You get the picture. Didn't sound too appetizing to someone who had no clue. And by the look of horror on Sergei's face when he saw it and tasted it, you could tell he was unpersuaded!
That was a long story to get me to my point for this blog. Today we tried to explain the fallacy of ethnic stereotyping to our EIGHT YEAR OLD! It was so much harder than I would have thought! Here's how it all went down: we had lunch as a family at our local Mexican restaurant. It's one of our favorite places and they have a mean lunch special! Derek is home for the day and we were enjoying the time together (sorry, Heather!). As we were leaving, Lauren noticed the picture of "Jesus" hanging by the door all aglow with the expected Catholic depiction. Then she blew my mind by saying, " I didn't know these kind of people loved God."
Now, I must digress for a moment to explain her choice of terminology. We have talked to our children a lot about our choices in life in view of the fact that we as a family 'love God' and want to honor Him with our lives. After a time, I almost came to question that decision because I noticed a tendency in both our older children to categorize people into two groups: those who love God and those who do NOT. The rub comes in when THEY begin identifying which is which!! Then you really have some 'splainin to do!
Back to the story. I say, "which kind of people do you mean, Lauren?". She says, 'you know, Mexican people." So Derek and I begin reminding her that there are perhaps MILLIONS of Mexican people in the world. "Have you met them all, Lauren?". "NO."
"So you cannot possibly know if all Mexican people love God or not. Loving God and serving God is an INDIVIDUAL choice and people from all over the world make that choice. We cannot stereotype people and say that a whole group does or does not."
YIKES! It's just harder than I would have thought to explain some concepts that I just take for granted! Parenting is so interesting: once you take really big issues, and start breaking them down, down, down, down.....you're left with such basic information. Maybe that's really all there is to it?
Just for fun, I have to share one more. I had given Sophie very clear instrucions the other night of what I expected from her in her room. The shoes go on the shoe shelf, the toys in the toybox, books on bookshelf, etc. Please do it, Sophie. Mommy will be back to check. True to my word, I came back. Sophie had not obeyed. I shared with her again how Jesus is watching even when Mommy is not, and that she has a responsiblity to be obedient, and so on. I explained to her about MERCY, and said I would show her MERCY by offering her a second chance to obey me. I was feeding Reagan in my room, when my door opened. Wide -eyed, Sophie says, "mommy, Jesus talked to me." (*knowing that Sophie has inherited her very VIVID imagination from me, I smiled) He did, Sophie? What did he say??
In her best ghost-like voice, with hands on either side of her mouth, she said 'he said CLeeaaaaann Yoooouuuuurrrr ROOOOOOOMMMMM." !!!!!!! And every time she hears me relay this story, she very indignantly responds, "FOR REAL, MOMMY!!!!"
All I know is, she cleaned her room that time.