That was then…This is now

by | Jun 18, 2020

THAT WAS THEN

 

In the past, I thought I had a good understanding of diversity and honoring all people. My non-profit about diversity appreciation, my social work and more had me feeling good about myself.

I didn’t know what I didn’t know.

 

THIS IS NOW

Now, thanks to those who have had the courage to gather, protest, speak and educate, I am discovering that there is so much I don’t know about being Black in the United States. As I watch, walk, read and listen, I am horrified and heartbroken about the systemic pervasiveness of disrespect and destruction of Black people’s lives that is rooted in racism.

I understand that I will never understand.

Now that I know this, I cannot go back to not knowing. Or not acting.

As parents, we’ve become accustomed to pouring ourselves into the well-being of our young people. Parenthood instills four very important skillsets that are needed as we re-educate ourselves and take action to right some of our society’s built-in wrongs:

 

  • We’ve got tenacity. I’m guessing that every parent receiving this email from me knows the experience of hanging in there, even when it’s hard and tiring. Giving up on our children is not an option. Quitting parenting because we’re tired is not an option. We’ve got grit.
  • We’re good at winging it. Every parent has to guess and do their best while raising children. We experiment. We find resources to help us learn.
  • We’ve had to surrender our illusions of perfection. No parent is perfect. Period. Life doesn’t always play out perfectly. So whether we like it or not, parenting forces us to face our own imperfection.
  • We understand sacrifice for the well-being of children we care about. ‘Nuf said.

Based on these four essential skills, WE PARENTS HAVE WHAT IT TAKES to work so that ALL children experience the rights, respect and opportunities that we want for our own children. The more children get to grow into their best selves, the better our world is for all of us.

We can’t change where we come from or what we’ve been through.

There is no shame in discomfort as we educate ourselves and take action for change.

I see this #BLM movement as an invitation to love children better.
All of them; not just our own.

“We all have the opportunity to use this moment to create something good. Change is good. Using your privilege is good. Proactively learning and unpacking your bias is good. Using your resources and talents to dismantle white supremacy is good.”

 

As a white person with plenty to learn about the experience of being Black in America, I’ve been diving into movies, shows and podcasts to educate myself in ways that draw my kids in. These are a few of my favorites so far:

To Watch
When They See Us” 4-part Netflix series
Just Mercy” movie
The Hate U Give” movie. So good for teenagers.
13th” documentary. An explanation of how and why we have racism built into our correction system.
To Listen

Still On My List

‘Interrupt The Systems’: Robin DiAngelo On ‘White Fragility’ And Anti-Racism

Want To Have Better Conversations About Racism With Your Parents? Here’s how

Why Now, White People?

Visit Kerry’s extensive collection of articles on parenting…a treasure trove of tips and insights.

Calm Parenting

Before I had kids, I always pictured myself as a calm, loving, happy, and nurturing mother. I was sometimes. I still am sometimes. I didn’t realize how hard I would have to work sometimes just to avoid coming completely unglued and falling apart right there on the...

That was then…This is now

As I watch, walk, read and listen, I am horrified and heartbroken about the systemic pervasiveness of disrespect and destruction of Black people’s lives that is rooted in racism.

One Way to Start Mother’s Day 2020

I think the sweetest gift I could receive would be WORDS. Words that in spite of my imperfections, my humanity, my annoying idiosyncrasies, and my mistakes along the way … that they’ll take me the way I am. That I am enough.

Raising Boys Made Me Braver

I have had to call up the intrepid, courageous, and active parts of me that, up until motherhood, had laid somewhat dormant.

The Car Sanctuary

So often while driving, my kids would fall asleep and I found that to be a quiet peaceful time. So, I decided to make my car my sanctuary.

Instead of M&M’s, Kids Need More N&Ns – AKA: My Kid Hates When I Say “No”

One day when I took my young son to Burger King, he wanted something he couldn’t have and I said no. It didn’t work out well for either of us.  What he wanted was “white pop” (known to older kids as Sprite). I was OK with that. I held the cup to the Sprite label on...

Popsicle vs. Poopsicle: your ticket to better dinner conversation

It's possible that dinner conversation is not quite what you had dreamed of. I had fantasies of a happy family gathered around, politely eating a meal that they appreciated and each person happily chatting about their day, one at a time. If you have that,...

How Do We Parent in Ways We Weren’t Parented?

Make lasting changes in behavior that last a lifetime and span multiple generations. In some ways, it's easy to parent our children in ways we weren't parented, right?  I was a latch-key kid with a working mom who was gone a lot. When it came time for me to be a mom,...

What Is Head and Heart Parents About?

Hi! I’m Kerry Stutzman. At Head and Heart Parents, we care about all things related to parenting.  I, and the other therapists I work with, think about the entire system of a family, from the well-being of the kids to the sanity and sense of humor of the parents....

My Favorite New Year’s Resolution

I loved this resolution because it helped bring to life a piece of me that I longed for: the part that can pause long enough to truly see and hear my children’s words and respond with a smile