Today my son asked me to name all his friends who are brown. He claimed he could only name one. I actually started to name all his friends and family members who are non-white until I realized that wasn’t really what he needed to hear. Instead, I talked to him about what we should look for in a friend – and color wasn’t one of the criteria.
My criteria are simple: kind, smart, fun, interesting. That’s kind of it. I don’t care about much more than this – and these are criteria that all my friends, white, brown, black, Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Republican, Democrat, Independent, Phillies fan, Yankee fan, Orioles fan, vegetarian, carnivore, reader, non-reader have in common.
Sometimes kids ask us questions and it’s hard to know what they need to hear in response. I have been guilty of over-talking MANY topics with my son: race, how babies are made, politics, why he should try new foods, my reasons for not subscribing to Club Penguin for him, and on and on.
The truth is, sometimes he doesn’t need all that (most of the time he doesn’t need all that), but sometimes I need to look past the question he is asking to the question he needs answering.