THE TALK – Part 4 – dan o’deens
Have you had the talk?
My good friend Pastor E.Scott Feather wrote this after the Ahmaud Arbery incident. He said,
“My great-grandpa never had to have “the talk” with my grandpa… my grandpa never had the talk with my daddy… my daddy never had the talk with me… so I have never had “the talk” with my son. I can leave my house; go for a walk anywhere I want without the slightest fear of what could happen or what people will say. Though all people are created equal and in the image of God – some dads must still have “the talk” with their sons. The talk about how they must be careful what they look like and where they go… simply because of the color of their skin. Though I don’t need to have “the talk” with my son… a talk needs to happen – Dads, we must talk to our sons about hate… about racism… about judgment based on the color of someone’s skin. We all need to have that talk. #ahmaudarbery “
My good friend Pastor Brian Moss wrote this after the George Floyd incident. He said,
“Racism is not a black versus white issue. Racism is global. Every country in the world deals with it.
- Chinese hate Japanese
- Turks hate Kurds
- The Hutus hated the Tutsi
- The Nazis hated the Jews
- Jews hated Samaritans (had to throw a Bible reference in)
- And a thousand other “us vs. them” scenarios
Racism traces its roots all the way back to the beginning of the book of Genesis. Racism is a sin and sIn is an “I” problem.
Too often parents are sub-consiously selfish and in busy mode. Their children ask them significant questions and they are pushed aside and dismissed because they are interrupting our personal time. Take the time to listen and respond!
ABOUT “THE TALK?”
- Like the sex talk we must gage the age of our children and respond appropriately. If a direct question is asked, the give a direct response. No need to go deep. You have most likely addressed their curiosity and they are satisfied. This is only the beginning.
- They know ‘more’ about the topic than you are comfortable with and they know it at a much earlier age than you think.
- They are hearing a clear message from everyone else in the world, would you rather they hear the right message from you?
- It’s ok ‘not to know.’ You don’t have to pretend to be an expert. Simply say, “Let’s learn and grow in this together.”
- Engage dialogue with your children. Ask them, “What are you hearing from the people in your world?” “What are you feeling?” “How do you think God would respond?”
Our children ‘grow up fast.’ Let’s walk through the stages of development and apply it to the issue of racism. Include these realities in ‘your talks’ and programming in the classroom…use them to your advantage for a greater good.
Early Childhood – 0-5
Children are born keenly aware of our differences. The best part of this stage is children do not naturally discriminate. TAKE AWAY: Walk them through uniqueness, unity and diversity.
Childhood – 6-8
Children at this stage are aware of societal norms and have developed feelings about them. Example: They know what is ‘fair and not fair.’ TAKE AWAY: Talk with them about injustice. Remember to dialogue not just monologue. Be simple but also honest. Help them develop a ‘Biblical Worldview.’ That means, what does God have to say about this?
Older Children – 9-11
Technology has become our best friend and worst enemy. Older children are hearing and seeing the realities of what is going on in our world but do not possess the maturity to discern what to do about it. They need to be guided in their thinking. TAKE AWAY: As guides we do not teach them what to think, we teach them ‘how’ to think. It is clearly at this stage where ‘biases’ are being adopted and formed into our child’s framework. Keep the conversation healthy with no slander. Example: “We love Grump and Gram but we think differently on this issue, here is why we have come to a different conclusion.”
These are the confusing years for both the parent and the child. They are no longer children, puberty is now a reality. They don’t want to be treated as ‘babies’ anymore. TAKE AWAY: They are forming their worldview and it includes acceptance, compassion and respect. This is a great time to dialogue about the idea that “God has put us here together not to compete but to complete one another. A study of the ‘one-anothers’ is appropriate.
They have arrived…or so they think. Most of their values are already formed. Did you hear that? Values are caught not taught. If you see traits in your children that alarm you, you may need to look in the mirror or hit the play button on your past conversations. They have been learning from you…and others too! This is the stage where they will push back against your status quo answers and demand more insight. TAKE AWAY: Allow them to speak. Listen. Give them a “VOICE”, but make sure that what they are saying aligns to a Biblical Worldview. Don’t be afraid to challenge their thinking. Do this without condemning them, but asking steering questions to get them to understand different viewpoints or how their ideas carried out might be perceived poorly by others. They are ready to be ACTIVE. This is the NOW Generation. Help them find their platform. Ask them, “When you look at your world, what pisses you off?” Too harsh for some of you…then replace with ‘what ticks you off.’ Their response is mostly likely a God infused ‘Holy Discontent’ and perhaps an opportunity for them to right the wrongs they see in their world.
Looking for content? GOOGLE IT. Be a lifelong learner. I am an avid reader. I rarely agree with everything that anyone says. But I can learn something from everyone. Don’t just read people who write what you think and feel. Read the ‘other side.’ AND BY ALL MEANS…
READ YOUR BIBLE. It is God’s Manual for Living Life According To His PURPOSE!
Have fun with ‘the talk(s)’. Create cohorts and learn from one another. It is wise to learn from your mistakes. It is exponentially wiser to learn from the mistakes of others. You don’t have to make all the mistakes by yourself.
Raising up the NOW Generation is going to be brutal. Our kids are confronted with hard core crap. Pornography, Racism, Violence with an ‘all access’ pass to see and hear anything they choose to search. Parents you have the greatest job in the world. You are shaping the NOW Generation who will one day lead our Nation and World.
HAVE THE TALK!
PART 1, 2 , 3 (Scroll Back)
GOD IS NOT COLOR BLIND – EQUALITY – Part 1
FACING THE ISSUE OF RACISM – SILENCE – Part 2
JUSTICE IS REDEMPTION – HOPE – Part 3