Black boy chronicles

A couple of weeks ago we were shopping for school shoes and I had a teachable moment with my two sons. I still get chills thinking about it – and how it relates to the world we live in. I will get into that later.

As we picked out school shoes, I headed to the register and my oldest decided to “pick up” a piece of candy. NEWSFLASH: you are not allowed to casually pick up anything in any store. And the same for your sister. Period.

Pause. Breath. Pause. Breath.

Because mothers have super powers, I knew something was up when I looked into those innocent eyes — he knew nothing about what this really meant for him: a black boy.

The conversation went something like this:

Me: “What do you have?”

Son: “Uhhh. . . nothing.”

Me: Immediate side eye

Me: “WHAT DO YOU HAVE!” Blood rushing and boiling

Son: Pulls small piece of candy out of pocket

Me: Head nearly explodes, body tenses up . . . and the candy goes back on the shelf

Outside of the store in my lowest but most stern voice I gave him straight talk: don’t you ever do this in your life . . . EVER!

From the look on his face, I knew he understood the seriousness of my words and eyes. Same for his brother. I was overwhelmed with emotion and had to pull myself back together.

As we rode home in silence, my thoughts gathered:

  1. We’ll have “the talk” when they can truly understand
  2. But why do my husband and I even have to have this talk with our boys?
  3. As a black boy certain situations are not worth it — so don’t put yourself in them

My hope is that these teachable moments with my kids will ignite them to seek change. We all must continue to advocate at city, state, and federal levels – it is undeniably important.

But what stands: I will continue to raise my boys to know that they are strong, they are smart, they are healthy, they are happy, they are blessed, and they are brave.

This will be a part of their black boy chronicles.

Because the sun always comes out after the rain. . .

Sun Taylor

Put your hands up

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.

Sun Taylor