Our nation is freshly torn by old wounds. We grieve and grapple with the killing of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and others … and with what has transpired since … and with all that it represents.
My own heart aches as well. At the cruel and degrading death of a man, made in the image of God. At the profound divisions in this country I love and the riots in its streets. At the hurt and vulnerability so many dear brothers and sisters have felt all their lives. At the way my own heart has so often been callous to this and to so much other pain besides.
I have family members both in law enforcement and of African descent. So I find the “sides” we supposedly must choose between to be a false and destructive choice. Americans can and must do both. We can express immense gratitude for the men and women in uniform who risk their lives daily for our safety and confront the reality that some police use authority to pour out their resentments in both brutal violence and subtle degradations. We can see America to be a nation of unique beauty and unparalleled opportunity and as a people who’ve often failed profoundly to live up to our highest ideals, including race-based evil. We can honor our justice system as among the best in the world’s history and work vigorously to root out its failures.
Among many questions, parents wrestle with how to guide our children’s thoughts and feelings in this time. Indeed, what our children hear in our words and see in our faces will teach them how to respond, whether we intend it or not.
What our children hear in our words and see in our faces will teach them how to respond, whether we intend it or not.
This is not simple for any parent. It also carries unique challenges for the many multi-racial families that are part of the CAFO community, including my own. This is true whether it was marriage, foster care, adoption or another choice that welded bonds stronger than blood across lines of race, ethnicity and/or nationality.
How can we aid our children – of every race – in processing this moment? How, ultimately, can we help them live well amidst all that it represents, not only now but also over decades to come?
In the four-part series ahead, with much debt to wisdom from wise and Christ-hearted members of the CAFO African American Leadership Council, we’ll briefly explore four concrete actions we can help our children take in response to evil – whether in the form of racism and other injustice…or in the myriad other expressions they will certainly encounter throughout their lives.
Lament. To name and mourn the brokenness of our world. (See “Lament” HERE.)
To gift these things to our children, we begin by doing them ourselves.
Repent. To name and turn from the sin in our own heart and life. (See “Lament” HERE.)
Ascent. To name and turn toward the goodness and strength of God. (See “Ascent” post HERE.)
Advent. To name and live into the coming of God’s kingdom, both now and yet to come. (See “Advent” HERE.)
I’ll be engaging each of these things with my family over the days ahead, and I invite you to join us. And don’t forget: to gift these things to our children, we must begin by doing them ourselves.