It was bath time last week. Who knew bathing my 6 year-old-son would provide much more perspective on the words “put your hands up.”
As he soaked in his suds, I asked him to put his hands up–and then I stopped. Fear seeped in. The thought of him being told this reminded me of what it really meant considering current and past events.
The action of putting your hands up has much more meaning than just the words. And when it hit me, I thought about “the conversation” we’d have with both of our boys when the time called for it. All these thoughts as I gazed at the suds.
What age would it be appropriate to really explain this? And why do we have to have this conversation as black parents with our black boys? And girls? Do other races have the same conversation, deeply, like we’ll have to?
“Put your hands up ” means different things, at different times, to different people. Some of us have been clear on this for a lonnnngggg time. But now, it just so happens it’s been caught on tape. Ponder that.
This all went through my head as he looked at me with innocence and rose his hands. I imagine the same innocence the mothers of Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Freddie Gray and all the mothers saw in their own son’s eyes when they bathed them. Innocence.
There are a lot of different points of view that have us in disarray and divided as country. Whether you have decided to kneel with Colin Kaepernick or join in another movement, “put your hands up,” remains the same but will also take on another meaning for me from this point on.
Put your hands up as a call for action; put your hands up to lift someone else in need; and finally put your hands up as you seek and pray for the answer.
While we’ll still have the conversation with our boys (and girl), I’m encouraged the same words will continue to ignite us to do something.
Put your hands up for positive change . . . because the sun always comes out after the rain.