One of my super powers as Zavi and Zara’s mom is to make them acutely aware of how magical they naturally are already and for them to grow to see it themselves. Yes, even at this early age. Especially in this period of time in history where differences are not being celebrated, it’s my job to make my children confident that they are already wonderfully made.
Whenever I do Zara’s hair or whenever we have just one of our moments, I find ways to affirm her hair texture and her beautiful skin. I talk openly and often about how versatile her natural hair texture is and how her skin is the perfect shade of brown. This is not for her to not appreciate others who are different than her but moreso about feeling comfortable embracing herself.
So imagine my pride yet slight amusement when Zara’s teacher shared with me months ago that Zara had to “check” someone in her class for not liking the color brown…as in a brown crayon. Her friend was drawing and harmlessly declared that he would not be using the color brown in his picture.
Apparently Zara took issue with that statement and promptly began to grill him. She questioned the unsuspecting boy on his reasons and tried to connect the dots for him that not liking that brown crayon meant that he doesn’t like her brown skin. (Remember, she is 4 years old.) The teacher shared that she had to redirect that conversation because it was going nowhere fast. Zara was not having it. Zara really wanted to know why he didn’t love the color brown the way he should. She then went on to name everyone in the room who matched the crayon and asked “You don’t like her? You don’t like him? What about me?”
When her teacher shared the story with me, I remember feeling this wave of immense pride. Let me be clear, my pride had more to do with the implications of the incident. The fact that she was so quick to come to the brown crayon’s defense made me aware that Zara is going to be the kid who stands up for those who have been wrongfully “mischaracterized” or mistreated.
At that very moment, I knew that she was listening all of those times when I would softly say, “Ugh. I just love your hair. I wish I had hair like yours.” Or “your skin is fabulous girl! You are so unique!”. She is listening y’all! (I’m from Texas.) Of course I hate that her friend had to learn the hard way that excluding the color brown was not the hot move to make but at least I know that she can defend herself and encourage a debate about why someone would think otherwise.
I did explain that her friend has the right to not use any color if he doesn’t want to but secretly I wanted to hi-five her.
So once again, I consider this a direct result of my superpowers as a mom. What’s your superpower?
P.S. Zara and the friend quickly got over it and began playing with each other like nothing ever happened. We could stand to learn a thing or two from the babies!