In a time where it feels like the world doesn’t want to see positive images like this..it begins to feel like,
“Team Lewis vs. Everybody!”
It’s a challenge between wanting to speak my mind, or just being quiet about the daily hardships of being a black family in a wealthy city not designed for our success. A city that only seems advantageous to “silver spoon” families, that don’t look like us.
I’m stuck between wanting my kids to stand up for what’s right, or just be quiet so we’re not judged for calling out the ignorant reactions when people see something that’s different from their own. Things like different hair, different skin, different cultures, different socioeconomic status. Stuck between wanting to show my “City Girl” side or just keeping it copacetic as I reassure my children that everything starts with us, at home, their foundation and consistency.
Some days I feel stuck. It’s a tough balance to maintain but in the end, we combat the negativity seekers by raising our babies to be educated, well dressed, loved, in a two-parent household that knows how to politely check yo ass.
Our 3 eldest kids recently started at a predominantly white, private school. Less than a month ago, Ja’Zarah came home and said a girl in her class put a rope around her neck. Ja’Zarah wouldn’t let her touch her hair. Months before that, my son had a boy call him a “nigga.” Both acts perpetuated by white students at their school. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Feeling outraged, I wanted to cuss everyone and they mama out! Joe, on the other hand was like, It’s ok, the ignorant actions of others don’t define us.
Should we always be passive as parents?
The dilemma here is that my husband prefers to be passive in these situations, while I’d prefer to confront the issues head on. Joe would be more comfortable if we just acted like nothing happened. As their mother, I never want our kids to feel like it’s OK for others to disrespect them. I want them to feel empowered to speak their minds, and if we don’t demonstrate that…how will they learn it? Decisions, decisions.
Of course, I don’t want to cause conflict in our household, but I want our kids to feel like we are advocating for them as well. We are their ONLY advocates in situations such as these…we are their voices because when they feel powerless and unheard. It’s our job to speak up, right? I refuse to dim my light, because of white privilege or sometimes white guilt, of the parents at the school. Absolutely not. It’s impossible to just sit here and act as if everything is OK.
Finding the balance in parenting
I am realizing that Joe and I come from different backgrounds. We were both raised by grandmothers, who if they were alive today, wouldn’t stand for it. I just want my kids to be strong leaders and stand for what THEY believe. I am instilling in them the ability to understand the weight of situations and how to act accordingly. Joe and I are the perfect balance. Joe has given our children the patience to see negatives as neutrals, to also understand when to let things go. Sometimes, like now, we conflict on the right response, but we are figuring it out.
Some days it feels like the world is against us, our positivity is far outweighed by the overwhelming negatives. Each and everyday we must keep the focus on raising our children in the most positive way possible. We should give them the ammunition to fight off the negative situations they will encounter in the world. Give them love, strength, and guidance. We will give them everything we have, and pray that it is enough. I pray until I can’t pray anymore, but the way my anxiety is set up…… Lord that’s another blog post…… to be continued!
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Mommi Leslie Moncada-Lewis