Saturday, June 12, 2010
You know the one thing that really, really worried me when we moved from Georgia to Washington? Every. single. person. I encountered was Caucasian. And I don't mean "Italian-American" or some other ethnic background that you could kind of peg as being part of the melting pot experience. No--everyone was homogeneous, white, and essentially lacking in any cultural identity outside of the good old Red, White, and Blue. This was startling, having moved from an area where we were decidedly in the minority, where the bulk of children in Jo's preschool class were African-American or the Spanish-speaking children of migrant workers.
I realize that not all of WA is the same. There are large concentrations of Japanese-Americans in Seattle, and a reasonable representation of Mexican-Americans moving out toward my neck of the woods. The rest of the state, I can't speak for. All I know is what I see in my library, grocery store, and church. And what I see is mostly white, sprinkled with a less-than-generous handful of the darker browns of African-Americans.
Seeing this and wondering how it would affect our children in the long run, Mr. Blandings and I set about purposefully creating as many multicultural friendships as possible for our kids. Some have been a success, and some have been marked failures. There were times when we wondered if we were crazy. "No one else worries about this," we thought, "Why are we making such a big deal out of it?"
But today, I saw some of the fruit as I watched my three very pale Irish and German descended biological children play in our back yard. Participating joyfully in the elaborate village-building pretend game was a Nepali girl, two Latino children, and a girl recently adopted from Ethiopia.
It almost brought tears to my eyes. This is what the Sunday School song meant when it talked about "all God's children." Beautiful shades ranging from alabaster to brown. Children whose first languages range from English to Amharic, from Spanish to Nepali. Playing. Enjoying one another. Getting along. Seeing no differences--only friends to share an adventure with.
I am not a huge fan of the "it takes a village" mentality. I don't believe that the government--or my neighbors--are responsible for raising my children. But I do believe that we ARE a village. God created a gorgeous array of cultures and peoples and languages. Raising our children to be comfortable with the many different flavors of life that He created does nothing but add another layer to His glory, I believe. Taking the time to weave ourselves fully into His colorful fabric has to bring Him even more joy than I feel watching my 8 year-old call out soccer plays in Spanish while learning how Ethiopian children kick balls barefoot.
Life is beautiful.