To the parents in our church:
Over the past several weeks, the evil reality of racism in our country has come to the forefront of our civil discourse in response to the horrific deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd. As Christians who believe that all people are loved by God and are made in his image, we have reason to be sickened and dismayed by the presence of racism (both overt and systemic) in our society. Perhaps as a parent, you are asking yourself, “How much do I say to my kids? How do I help them make sense of what is happening?”
For minority families, this is a pressing question, because they know they know that their children will soon become aware of racism through their own experiences. For white families like mine, it may be tempting to want to shelter our children just a little bit longer. Perhaps we think that as long as we treat everybody kindly, our children will never discover that racism is an option.
As Christian parents, we take seriously the need to teach our children what the Bible says about God, but we can’t stop there. We also need to help them understand what the Bible says about people–both the beautiful truths of God’s design and the painful realities caused by sin. If we don’t teach our children these truths, the vacuum of our silence will be filled with the attitudes and assumptions of their peers. In particular, for those of us who are not racial/ethnic minorities, talking to our kids about racism and its ongoing societal effects is an important part of helping them understand how to love their neighbors and contribute to a more just society.
There are plenty of articles and resources out on the internet about how to talk to your kids about race and racial reconciliation, but I wanted to share two that are written with a Christian worldview:
- How to Talk about Race with Your Kids by Michelle Reyes
- Why You Should Teach Your Kids About Racial Reconciliation by Jarvis Williams & Curtis Wood
Both of these articles were written prior to current events, but I hope you will still find them useful as a starting point. Our Youth Pastor, Will Chester, and I are working on compiling a recommended resource list for parents, children, and youth, and we hope to release that to you in the next week or two.
Meanwhile, if you are already engaging your family in this conversation, I’d love to hear from you! What books (especially children’s books!) are you reading? What podcasts have been helpful to you? If you’re just getting started, I’d love to hear from you too. What questions or fears do you have? You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Finally, if you are looking for a way to engage your family in standing against racism, we have an opportunity to join a peaceful, socially distant demonstration along Roosevelt Road this Saturday, June 6 from 1-2.
Thank you for the work you do every day to invest in God’s kingdom by raising your children in the love of Christ. You are planting seeds of justice and compassion that will be desperately needed when their generation takes the baton of leadership. May the Spirit of Jesus sustain you and give you his words and wisdom.
With hope in Christ,
Pastor Kevin Sheehan