““Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.”— Proverbs 22:6 NIV
As the resident Poet here at Three Fifths Magazine, I situate my offerings to you from the intersections of Art, Adult Education and Social Justice. When we talk about “Social Justice,” we understand it takes into account the ways in which white supremacy and systemic oppression have been the cornerstone for the unjust and inhumane treatment of “People of the Global Majority” as Dr. Kamilah Majied calls those of us who are Black, Indigenous, Latinx and/or of Asian heritage.
In her talk via the Liberate meditation app, Dr. Majied speaks of “rightful speech/mindful speech” as a pathway to liberation that creates “more freedom within us and more freedom around us.” This liberation within and around us lends itself to more of a co-liberation model where we protect, support and fight alongside others to abolish those structures that eventually oppress, suppress and divide us all.
As I think about our children being the future leaders of co-liberation work, I am reminded of some of the earlier messages I received coming directly from Sunday School about being loved, about mattering to God and about being seen in the world:
“He’s got you and me, brother, in His hands
He’s got everybody here in His hands
He’s got the whole world
He’s got the whole world in His hands.”
“Father Abraham had many sons
Many sons had Father Abraham
I am one of them and so are you
So let’s just praise the Lord
(This song used to go on for days!)
“Jesus loves the little children
All the children of the world
Red and yellow, black and white
They are precious in His sight
Jesus loves the little children of the world.”
Acknowledging the racist and sexist terminology that lives in children’s songs, we also recognize how these and other Sunday School hymns were not only part of our religious and spiritual teachings as children. As imperfect as they are, these songs were also exposing us to a mindset of inclusion and belongingness as best they could.
Reflecting on inclusion and belonging messages to our children, I recall an experience with my own child. Several years ago, there was a particular episode of the Christian animated series VeggieTales. The episode focused on a group of veggie superheroes fighting together against a corrupt Apple and her destruction of the community via a web of temptation (Think The Avengers and Thanos with vegetables). My child was fully engrossed in this story. So much so, that when it came time to practice the Lord’s Prayer before bed, my Little One found it more than appropriate to incorporate what was learned:
Makkie: “Our Father, who art in heaven…”
My Thought: (I remember when I first learned this prayer)
Makkie: “Hollywood be thy name”
My Thought: (We still need to work on that…)
Makkie: “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven”
My Thought: (I can’t wait for mama to hear Mak recite this prayer)
Makkie: “Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors
My Thought: (I wonder if “debts” and “trespass” hold the same weight in heaven)
Makkie: and lead us not into chocolate temptation”
My Thought: (Wait, what!?! Well, technically it still works)
Makkie: “But deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory, forever and ever. Amen!”
Makkie finished the prayer. And, with all the pride and joy of someone who felt fully loved and felt their works were pleasing in the Lord’s sight, turned to me with eyes beaming, “How was that mommy?!”
“That was perfect, Sugar Bear! And I am sure your prayer made God’s Heart smile,” I said with a big hug.
There is so much chaos surrounding us right now. Regardless, let’s steady ourselves and continue to teach our next generation leaders the language and actions that will create more freedom within them and more freedom around them. For doing so will make God’s Heart smile.
BIO FOR POST:
Dr. Kecia Brown is a Career and Wellness Coach, mother, author, and entrepreneur. Kecia’s children’s book, The Love of 10,000 (her child Makaila Imani served as both Inspiration and Editor of the book) was published in 2019. The Love of 10,000 is a heartfelt visual poem from a mother to her daughter. The book was informed by the poem “Our Grandmothers,” written by Dr. Kecia’s self-appointed patron saint, the incomparable Dr. Maya Angelou.
Kecia believes her gift to the world is to create experiences that help us to heal, laugh, and live our poetry/liberation out loud. She also eats a lot of chocolate.
By Dr. Kecia Brown