Friday, November 9, 2012

"We're all just people...

...watching the same rainbow then?"

 The innocence in her big, blue eyes hurt my heart.

She sighed and cuddled in closer to me, content with my answer.  

I was not content.  I wished that I had more eloquent answers to the difficult question she asked me. 

Our conversation had started when we were laying on the daybed in my office together after school.   We were practicing first grade reading.   It was a fascinating story of a unicorn and a dragon becoming friends.

Halfway through the book she paused with a troubled look on her face.

"Grandma?" she said in her squeaky little voice, "Can I ask you something?  You won't get mad at me?"

"Mo, you can ask me anything and, no, I won't get mad at you."

She paused for a moment.  I could see the confusion clouding the clarity of her eyes.

"Okayyyy...ummm...Grandma.   Kid's were saying that we need to put the White back in the White House today.  And I ...ummm...wonder if that's true."

Wow.   Deep subject.  I am quite private in my political beliefs.  I recognize my views will not influence anyone elses and I choose not to publicize my feelings on these subjects.  I was really astonished to hear this question, though.

This child is in first grade.

"Well, Mo.   Do you know what that means?"

She hesitated and then said, "Well, Grandma.   It's because our President has brownish-black skin, right?"


I hoped for a distraction of epic proportions but nothing happened.


"Okay," I said.  "What color is your skin?"

"Pink," she replied.

"And what color is my skin?"

"Ummm...kind of yellowish with light brown spots."  

Hmmm... okay.   Close enough.

"And what color is Diego's skin?"

"Kind of light brown."

I continued, "So, Miss Mo.   None of us have the same color skin, right?  And there are kids in your school with reddish skin and brownish skin and blackish skin, right?"

She agreed.

I hoped again for a distraction.

No such luck.

She watched me intently.

 My mind raced.

"You told me at recess today there was a rainbow, right?"

"Right, Grandma!   All the kids were shouting 'rainbow! rainbow!'  It was cool!"

"So, Mo.  Did only the kids with the pink skin shout 'rainbow! rainbow!'?" I continued.

She thought for a moment.  

"Nope.   ALL the kids were shouting!"

"Are you sure?" I asked her.  "Maybe only the kids with the pink skin and the light brown skin were shouting.  Maybe none of the kids with the yellow skin and the black skin were shouting.   Maybe..."

She interrupted me, "No!   No, Grandma.   All the kids were shouting 'rainbow! rainbow!'.

"Okay, Mo.   So do you think people with different colored skin see things differently than you?"

She thought for a second.   "No.   We all have the same eyes, right Grandma?"

I agreed.  "We do all have the same eyes, Mo.   But maybe we don't all have the same hearts.   Maybe some people decide if people are good or bad based on the color of their skin."

She snuggled in closer.  

I continued, "The thing is, Mo, it's not really as simple as that, but that's part of why people say we need to put the 'White' back in the White House.   The rest is really, really hard to understand."

"Okay, Grandma.    So what you're saying is that we're all just people watching the same rainbow?"
"Yeah," I said softly.  "Kind of like that Mo.   We're all just people watching the same rainbow."
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Dorothy said...

Well, I came here from ImagiMeri's, and I'm glad that I did. This is a beautiful post! Thank you.

Linda @ A La Carte said...

Oh Jenny this breaks my heart that so many things like this have to be explained to our young one's. I hope this country will try to come together and all look at the same rainbow! You touched my heart today.
hugs, Linda

Jeanie said...

Very good job......I'd say you aced that answer.

summersundays-jw said...

That was a great answer. I'm hoping maybe their generation will be the ones to really fully accept that we were all created the same. So sad to still have to hear racism....& seems to be a lot of it right now. Jan

Lorrie Orr said...

What a wise woman you are, and your granddaughter. A lovely, thoughtful post, Jenny. Thank you.

Sue said...

What a great explanation, Jenny. You are such a wise grandma.


Ms. A said...

Beautiful explanation!

ImagiMeri said...

You are a wonder my dear friend. Mo will only become more amazing for having had you in her life.

Love ya

Gail said...

What a beautiful story, Grandma!

Sometimes we struggle for the right things to say that counter the blindness many people demonstrate. I say you make an A+++++, MS Jenny.

Anonymous said...

What a shame that adults pass on their prejudices to such little ones. It sounds like you handled it beautifully. Hopefully, with the elections past us we can heal and try to fix all the little ones the hatred of politics has damaged.

Scudds Harrison said...

Can you be my grandma, too? Please...without any doubt, Miss Jenny. You are my favorite woman since I learn and love to blog and came across your page and love all the bits in it.

Keetha Broyles said...

Beautiful, wonderful, poignant.

Ames said...

It blows my mind that a child of her age would ask such a deep question like that. You know she had to have heard it at school. Her bringing that up just reinforces that old saying "little pictures have big ears" and adults really should not voice their adult oppinions, of such delicate matters, within ear shot of their childen.
Kudos to grammaw for her clarification. Hugs~Ames

P.S. I learned a long time ago on the job...never discuss politics or religion and everyone can get along. It works for me!~A

Rebecca S. said...

Wise Grandma. Wise child. Lovely post! Brought tears to my eyes.

Naperville Now said...

you beyond aced it, Jenny. bless you.

Green Speck said...

Beautifully done !!!

Anonymous said...

Great answers -- she's a lucky girl. Lovely post.

H said...

How sad that Mo heard this from kids at her school. It just shows how easily prejudice passes on from parents to children. You gave a great answer and I hope Mo can handle these comments next time she hears them.

Joanne Lendaro said...

I sincerely hope you consider printing your blog at some point! It will be wonderful for all of your "grands" to read in much later years. They will really be able to appreciate what a wonderful grand they have had.

Judie said...

Out of the mouths of babes and grandmas.....What a wonderful woman you are!

I have been mentally and physically absent from the blogging world lately. Very complicated right now, but I am getting better. Talk to you soon.


Terra said...

Jenny you are amazing. That would be such a tough position to be put in especially as a grandma and you handled it beautifully. This story touched me.

Anonymous said...

This is a wise & beautiful post. You & Mo made my day. Thank you. Peace.

Jayne Martin said...

How blessed Mo is to have such a wise Grandma.

Debby@Just Breathe said...

I like how you handled those questions. I have to say that I have not heard that comment from anyone about having to put White back into the White house. That is really distasteful. I did not vote for Obama but it had nothing to do with color!

Rita said...

Absolutely beautiful truth to pass on. :) :)

Bonnie said...

What a beautiful thoughtful grandchild you have. What a beautiful thoughtful and wise Grandma she has!

The Quintessential Magpie said...

That was a tough one and handled well, Jenny. It's a shame that people have made political differences about race. I thought it was about ideaology. That sort of thing makes me want to cry, and I can't imagine how you felt. Insert knife in heart and heart in throat. But you did well, my friend.

I am exhausted from the whole political ordeal. I'm the kid on the playground who plays well with others so divisiveness robs me of my equillibrium. I was hammered to death by both parties, and in truth, it made me want to vote for QEII. Next to the Lord, she's the most stable thing in our world. She's never stepped a foot out of line, and it's long past time for a woman president. But then, Chuckles comes after her with Camilla in tow. ;-) Oh well!

Love you...



Busy Bee Suz said...

I love your answer to her; honest and sweet.
Hopefully she can pass on those words of wisdom to kids that don't get it at home. XOXO

Melinda Cornish said...

oh my gosh how I love this little girl...she warms my heart....