Jul 1, 2016

Lucy shoots straight.

We talked about baby Moses tonight before bed and read about his mother desperately trying to save him.

The book said that the Israelite were slaves.  I asked you, "What are slaves?"

"They have to do everything," you replied.

"That's right.  They have to work and work.  It's not right and not fair.  They were strangers in that land and had no power, and the people in power did not do the right thing.  They made them slaves, and God does not want that--it's wrong!  All people are made by God and all people are precious!"

(I'd been praying for an opportunity to introduce the history of slavery in the U.S., which is a heart-breaking thing to discuss, but I thought it might come up at school and I want to be the "teller-of-hard-true-things" for her.  It's part of my Mama-job.)

"And there are places even now with slaves.  It's so sad."

"Like where, Mama?"

"Like parts of India, parts of Africa...  There were even slaves in the U.S. a long time ago.  But they knew it wasn't right and they stopped it.  I'm so happy they stopped that awful thing here."

"Who stopped it, Mama?"

"Abraham Lincoln!  The President you talked about in pre-school.  He said, 'No more of this in the U.S.!' I'm so glad he did that."

She pondered, "Abraham Lincoln...  the 16th.  What about George Washington?  George Washington didn't care?"

So astute, my dear.  You went for the jugular.  A question that sums up so much.  Of course slavery was outlawed, but why on earth did it take so long?  He didn't care, no.  Not about that.  And he should have.  And so should have numbers 2 and 3 and so on.  People matter.  Always have, always will.  When people's lives are de-valued and their rights are cut off, it's just so despicably wrong.  So while our fore-fathers got it right with the words "all men are created equal" they didn't actually follow through.  They didn't treat all men equally.  They mis-used their power, and our country has paid for it through many, many griefs.

So my introductory history lesson went well.  I delivered a nice little capsule of information, wrapped in positive thought about the good news that there is no slavery here now.  And my little thinker, 5 years old, all tucked in with Ducky and a sleep cap, piped up with one question that has left me pondering injustice and how it was that so many people who claimed to know Jesus stood passively by while slavery  flourished here for hundreds of years.  You slumber.  I ponder.  I look forward to the education you're giving me, Lucy Joy.   As always, you're amazing.

*PS  I share this private conversation because I think it's awesome how she thinks.  But this is not appropriate subject matter for anyone else, so don't mention any of this to her.  Thanks!

*PPS  I wrote this when it happened, but didn't post it then.  In the next several weeks, I thought about this conversation often, as our nation faced some of the very griefs brought about by our ugly history of slavery and devaluation of whole groups of people.  The grief is real, and the solutions are not simple.  I'm praying hard for real racial peace.

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