Learning to Love Yourself

It is April, and the Easter egg hunt is drawing nigh. The eggs are fitly prepared with the infilling of sweetness, and aromas from the most delectable nuggets and treats, give or take a coin or two. The excitement builds in the imaginations of these children of anticipation. The day arrives as wide-eyed tiny humans ready themselves for this yearly spectacle. We must pause before the command to sprint into the field sprinkled with pink, blue, green, yellow, and orange-colored synthetic eggs. These 21st-century children’s perceived innocence and belief in the random fairness of the yearly Easter Egg Hunt is an anomaly, an island of sorts in a world that picks its winners and losers.

James Baldwin described it this way: 

“It is a terrible thing for an entire people to surrender to the notion that one-ninth of its population is beneath them. Until the moment comes when we, the Americans, are able to accept the fact that my ancestors are both black and white, that on that continent we are trying to forge a new identity, that we need each other, that I am not a ward of America, I am not an object of missionary charity; I am one of the people who built the country–until this moment comes there is scarcely any hope for the American dream. If their very presence denies the people’s participation, they will wreck it. And if that happens, it is a very grave moment for the West.”

https://www.insidehighered.com/blogs/education-oronte-churm/why-james-baldwin-beat-william-f-buckley-debate-540-160

Are we products of our environment, or do we have agency to change it? Much of the conversation in some circles is around protecting the delicate lives and psyches of young white children, or so it may seem. Sanitizing history or the way it is presented is centered around the so-called self-esteem of the children of the dominant culture.

How can a child of color who is doing the classroom family tree project go only a few generations back until their tree falls apart and they can’t understand why? What do we say to them when their teacher can’t teach about chattel slavery, the raping, and subjugation of black women, or the selling off of offspring, never to be reunited again? Or names changed so many times no one can trace who is who, even with the help of some of the best DNA services available.

This notion does not consider any other ethnic expressions of childhood or their perception of self-worth. By standing in opposition of these little ones, they discount lived experiences along with the mechanisms to connect the dots of history to their lives.

Nikole Hanna Jones and Renee Watson articulate these thoughts in their outstanding children’s book “So it teaches a Black child and makes you question, well, am I really experiencing what I’m experiencing? On the playground, when that kid made fun of my skin or my hair texture, what was that and why did that happen?”

“Born on the Water”

In essence, many of our schools are saying Stop the Easter Egg Hunt for the children of color so that the white children can get all of the eggs and feel good about themselves.

Why can’t all of the children feel good about themselves? This is not a naive aspirational question, but a moment of halt, a fork in the road, a point in which we say, “we’ve got to do things differently and begin to think and act in a spiritually mature way to cause a different outcome than in all of the years and lost opportunities of the past.

Pathways into a Peaceable Kingdom/Nation in 2022 remain well-traveled and true and begin by investing in the next generation.

The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, The leopard shall lie down with the young goat,
The calf and the young lion and the fatling together; And a little child shall lead them.

Isaiah 11:6 New King James Version

i.e., “I believe the children are our future, Teach them well and let them lead the way

The Greatest Love of All by Michael Masser, music, and Linda Creed, Lyrics.

The song’s crescendo phrase leverages the Imago Dei in us all. “Learning to Love yourself is the Greatest Love of All”

Learning to love yourself involves support, resources, and commitment.

Support from parents/families, houses of worship on all sides of the ethnic divide. resources such as 

Children’s books like these and more.

Learning to love yourself is the key to bridging any divide. White children should be encouraged to become allies and agents of change. Examples of abolitionists, freedom-riders, clergy, lawmakers, and change agents exist in all ethnicities. We can only properly apply the Golden Rule when “doing unto othersinvolves sharing the love that we have learned to have for ourselves.

By Kevin Robinson Founder/Editor, Publisher of Three-Fifths Magazine

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