This morning, my wife and I visited our daughter's Pre-K classroom to read books.
Since she's now been in school for three years, we've had several opportunities to read. Prior to this year, we've read Karen Beaumont's I Like Myself and Brad Metzler's I am Rosa Parks. This year, we discussed with our daughter some choices. She decided on The Case For Loving and Mixed Me. Mixed Me had become one of our favorites since it focuses on a biracial boy who is dealing with classmates who are teasing him about his appearance. This book would be wonderful to share with the class, but I debated reading The Case for Loving, thinking it too long with some challenging words and concepts for a group of 4 and 5 year olds. The book focuses on the Loving family, who were an interracial couple who were unable to live as husband and wife in Virginia. Eventually, it led to a Supreme Court case that overturned the law.
But, my daughter insisted. The story of the Loving Family is so near and dear to our hearts, and it was the book she really wanted us to read. So, we read it. And not only did the students really like the book, they also understood the story. My daughter had such a sense of pride sharing a story about a family that looks like hers. She is so comfortable talking to people about her "blendedness". What was most satisfying was seeing her field the questions of her classmates. It was clear that she made the right choice. She understood so much more of the story than I thought she did, sharing details and facts, thoughtfully answering her peer's questions. She was so patient in her approach. As wonderful as this might be to witness as a parent, I'm sharing this because it is a reminder that too many of us take our children and what they are able to comprehend for granted. We sell them short because they are short. So, don't shy away from those tough discussions. Take time to talk with your child. Bring it down to his or her level. You might just be as surprised as I was today.