I'm sitting in the baby pool area of the local public pool. My five-year-old and my three-year-old are happily playing and jumping around as if there was not a care in the world.
There's about 25 kids under the age of 6 in the pool and all of them look different. There's about 10 Hispanic kids, 10 black and about five white. My kids being mixed with Hispanic and Japanese, we always fit into so many different people groups
I literally shed tears knowing that 50 years ago, all these kids weren't allowed to be on the pool together, much less play together. I was mentally celebrating how far our country had come, when my daughter walks up to me in tears.
She said a little black girl told her not to play with her group of friends. This was how the conversation happened:
My daughter: "Do you want to play with me?"
Queen Bee Bully, "I don't want to play with you."
My daughter: "Why not?"
Queen Bee Bully: "I don't like white people." Instead of getting upset or running and telling grandma, or pulling my kids out of the pool, I told my daughter to do something entirely different. I told her to tell the little girl that we were all the same on the inside and it doesn't matter what we look like on the outside. She went right back into the pool and told the girl what I told her to say. She came back crying again saying, "She won't listen to me. She still won't play with me."
I got up to talk to the group of girls and said very firmly, "Girls, I know that we all have different skin and hair, but we are all the same on the inside. Can we play nice together?" I was almost in tears, in disbelieve that I actually have to talk about this with a bunch of 6 year-olds. The queen bee bully left the huddle before I even finished my last sentence. But her other little friends listened and nodded when I asked them to play nicely together.
I went back to my lawn chair and started crying. I wished that my little daughter could never grow up and have to talk about "grown up" issues like discrimination or hatred. But unfortunately, she came face-to-face with bullying and exclusive behavior right here in a multicultural baby pool.
Just this morning, my daughter and I were waiting for my mother outside of a grocery store. I see a pot of plants right front of us. I noticed that there are the same flower but all different colors. So I ask her, "Are these all the same flower?" She said, "No, they're different mom."
I told her to look again. Even though they were all different colors, they were all the same flower. All of them had the same leaves, the same petal shape, the same little yellow fuzzy bits in the middle. They were all the same flower, just different varieties. We notice all the people coming up and down the city streets. I ask her if anybody in the city looked the same. She said, "No, we all have different hair and skin. But we're all the same on the inside." Little did I know that she would come to understand the meaning of this in only an hour later at the baby pool.
I look over to my daughter again in the pool. She is trying to play with any little boy or girl she could find. But to no avail. No one seems to want to really play with her.
Finally, the little girl who bullied her at first asks her to play "Hide and Seek." My daughter doesn't even hesitate and started playing. She could have yelled at her, hit her, or been rotten back. But she forgave that little girl and just let it go. Forgiveness is a powerful thing.
My daughter comes to me and I hug her and I say, "I'm so proud of you." and I start to cry. She asked me why I started crying and I say, "Because you were such a big girl today."
I greatly admire how she loves kids from any background. In the mind of my daughter,we are all just flowers with different color petals.
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