Loving the world as Jesus loved us means eliminating racism from our own hearts first, and then beginning to address the world around us. What is sad to me is that when I have said this statement to certain people before, their first reaction was to either feel blamed or politicize this statement. Hear me, this isn’t a blame thing, a democrat thing, a green party thing, or a republican thing. This is a Jesus mandate. And most of us agree that we want our children to grow up in a better, more loving, more inclusive, less polarized world than the one we currently inhabit. That doesn’t happen automatically!
At Northpoint, we have a house habit that says “WE GROW INTENTIONALLY!” And a generation of kids who think differently on race isn’t just going to happen. The next generation won’t just automatically be more inclusive. That will happen with intentionality, and it starts with us as parents and guardians.
Here are three ways to see whether your environment is one that is likely to produce a child who doesn’t let race get in the way of the Jesus mandate.
1. Listen to what you say
How is race as a modifier used in your speech? When you describe someone as black, white, hispanic, Mexican, etc., in a story, why do you do it? Why is that part of the person important? Are there groups of people you never use modifiers for? Why? Maybe your parents used the term to indicate someone was different than normal people (like you) or were stupid or dangerous or not to be trusted. If you want your child to see the world differently, your speech will have to be different too.
2. Look at your friends
How your child views race will likely have more to do with who is around your table than any other factor. It is hard to hold stereotypes when your parent’s closest associates, friends or colleagues are diverse. Do all your friends look just like you? Believe just like you? Speak just like you?
3. Look at your church
Church matters. And who you worship with matters too. Do you worship in a place that looks like your community? Just look around. These are the people your child will be most comfortable with, will make memories with, learn from, and ultimately grow to respect.
What ways have you found effective in raising a child with a respect for people of different races and backgrounds?