This week has been especially challenging for me. There is a constant load of tasks I am anxious and driven to complete daily: meditating, drinking tea, voicing my beliefs through writing, taking a Materia Medica course online, mothering, housekeeping, volunteering, conversating (a lot more in public than usual), connecting, and promoting simple gestures of kindness as often as possible. I have dreams for myself and my family. My children are my world, my motivation, my life, and I want to live up to all of their, and my, expectations of myself and the legacy I hope to leave them. To be a true role model for their future; hopeful that it will create tiny ripples that will continue to proliferate!
Unfortunately, it is a struggle for me to see a man running the country who is making choices that I do not agree with, and I can’t do anything about. Someone I want my children to be able to look up to, but is not exemplifying the type of respect and integrity that I would, and do, expect out of them. There are main qualities: honesty, fairness, compassion, consideration, kindness, and love in which I do my best everyday to pass on to them, through example. The very traits my parents exhibited for me. Traits that I have always, since I was a child, held true to.
From a young age I remember being very empathetic of others’ stories and life experiences. They intrigued me and my emotions would follow right along as I yearned for the details of their inspirational and compelling narratives. I’ve always loved dramas; especially autobiographies. There has never been a “Based on a a true story,” sports movie that I haven’t been moved by; literally to tears, at some point. At least, not that I’ve watched. This instinctive empathy is something I have in common with my mother.
Every week, usually on Thursday afternoons after work, my mom comes to my house to visit us. This last week we were discussing our thoughts about our current political system, incoming president, and our perspective on it. My mother has always been a liberal and has always been what I would describe as, open-minded. She is compassionate, sometimes overly, but she has always had the tendency to put others before herself; my entire life. She taught me the concept that I am not to judge people on how they look because that is not who they are. People are People!
The other night when she was visiting, she told me a story about her and my father. This was after I read her a message I had recently sent out via Twitter regarding her, which people replied positively to. It was in response to someone mentioning that racism/discrimination needs to be called out by white people among their peers to really be effective in combating it. I responded by mentioning that my mother married a racist man who, as far as I witnessed, treated people fairly. A man who I never knew to use racial slurs, or prohibit anyone from entering our house based on what they looked like. He accepted, shook hands with, and talked to the multitude of boyfriends of various ethnicities that my sister dated during her young adult life. Then, as the above picture shows, was a godfather to a young Hmong boy in our parish. This is because my mother did not and would not allow it in her presence, and she wholeheartedly believed understanding, compassion, and consideration will prevail. She adheres to this belief, to this day.
The story she told me, the other night, took place when my parents were newly married and living in an apartment above my grandfather’s funeral home. My dad was at work and called home to my mom. When she answered he immediately, in a panicked voice, asked her if all of the doors were locked. The time period was the late 1960s, during the Civil Rights Movement.
My mother questioned what was going on and why he was asking if the doors were locked. He said, “A busload of black men are coming up from Milwaukee to start a riot.” She proceeded to question where he had heard this and reassured him the doors were locked, as they always were because she was home and that was the common habit. He said some guys at work had heard it and he was afraid for her safety because of the funeral home’s proximity to the highway they would be driving into town on. My mom reassured him she would be fine and explained he needed to relax and consider the source before jumping to conclusions. She wanted more accurate, viable information before deciding if there was any danger or if the story was factual.
In the end, nothing violent or eventful happened and eventually, they discovered that it was a busload of African American teenage boys coming to play an intermural basketball game against a local high school. My father’s story was hyperbolic as a result of false information, stereotyping, and jumping to conclusions.
Over time, my father, with insistence by my mother through her actions such as: not allowing discriminatory language in her house, not agreeing to raise her children with close-minded/racist viewpoints, and demonstrating through kindness, compassion, and acceptance that it is not admissible to judge people from afar; changed my father’s perspective on how he viewed others. She exemplified this through her actions and words. By the way she treated people!
In the end, the most influential message I gained from my parents in all of this is People Are People, don’t judge others, but especially don’t judge others if you haven’t met them first.
Thank you again to all of my readers and followers! Keep writing, it truly makes a difference. It is part of the very important conversations we all must continue to have with one another!
Peace and Love,