Friday, September 4, 2009

Mixed, Mixed Up, or Just Right

Several weeks ago at one of the first soccer practices for Bethany's U8 team, the girls were in two lines running a drill. Two girls would go up, dribbling and passing the soccer ball until one girl would shoot the ball into the goal. While the two girls were running, the rest of the girls were...well...talking and goofing off. Try as I might, I had difficulty keeping order. "Cheer for your teammates. Watch what they are doing." Other pleas went unheard as they continued to talk and even nit-pick at each other. I continued to monitor their conversation and my ears perked up when I heard one of the girls ask my Bethany, "Are you mixed?" Here is how the conversation proceeded from there:
Bethany: "What?"
other girl: "Are you mixed?"
Bethany puzzled: "What?"
other girl, getting slightly perturbed: "Are you MIXED?"
Bethany: "No, I'm Bethany."
other girl: "Isn't your dad black?"
Bethany: "What?"
other girl: "Your dad is black, isn't he?"
Bethany: "No...he's not black. He's brown."

Our children have never classified people according to their color. In fact, if you ask my kids to describe someone, the color of their skin doesn't usually enter into their description although they may say that someone is "darker skinned" or "lighter skinned" than they are. They will describe what the person is wearing, what his/her hair looked like, tall/short, thin/thicker, etc. Our kids obviously aren't "color blind" in the sense that they know their colors (red, brown, yellow, black, white) and they can see that all of us have some sort of color on our skin. I'm not sure if I'm explaining it well here, but I have the thoughts in my head. :)

Our identity and our children's identities are not wrapped up in the color of our skin, but in who God says we are. In our home, people are not a race or a class, but people who need love and care and mostly need the Savior. Those values transcend outside our home. We treat people like people. Philippians 2: 2-4
...complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant that yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

Bethany didn't seem bothered at all by the encounter with her teammate. Her teammate, on the other hand, as made several other comments about the color of her own skin, her father's, her mother's and so on. My heart goes out to her, as I want her to know that when we look at her we don't see her color so much as her personality and her character. And more importantly, what does God see when He looks at her?

I pray that I will be able to communicate the love of Christ to these little girls and that seeds will be planted for His glory.


  1. I had a conversation much like this when I started school. You see, both of my parents have cerebral palsy and (back then) walked with a pronounced limp. Children kept asking me WHY my mother limped and I could not imagine what on earth they were talking about. To me, my mother didn't limp, she just walked like my mother! ;)

  2. Beth and Brianna had many conversations like this when they were younger...when they became older they kind of took pride in their 'mixedness' (is that even a word?? LOL)....