I am always amazed at how children interpret information – what it means to them and how they process it. Rain often blows me away, but last night was the best!
She was learning about Martin Luther King in our home school last month. She shared some stories with us over dinner calling him, “Martha Jr.” (Too cute). She was very sensitive about how people were treated different and King’s dedication and passion to make a change. I saw her card hanging in the classroom and thought it was so beautiful…
Last night at dinner I was going through my usual struggle trying to get my kids to eat all the food groups. Dessert has become a reward for healthy eating and whoever doesn’t make good meal choices has to skip dessert. It’s been a struggle but it works. Even Shaya finishes his meat and tries some veggies for his beloved sweets.
Rain on the other hand says she is becoming a “vegematarian” – her idea of what not eating meat is called – and she’s getting pickier by the day. She is turning on most of her favorite foods and changing each week. It’s all good with me as long as she gets her protein. Thankfully she loves quinoa and beans, kale and many veggies.
Yesterday all she wanted was white rice (lame).
“You will not get any dessert if you don’t eat something else. It’s your choice but that’s the deal,” I assured her.
Later that evening when her siblings were chowing down on taffy and she got the “No Chance!” from me she came bawling with this analogy:
Big tears rolling, “Mommy, how would you feel if you had a striped shirt on and the other kids had on no stripes and the teacher said only no stripe shirts can go outside and play, HOW WOULD YOU FEEL? That’s what it was like when Martha King Jr. was here, people were treated different and that’s what you are doing to MEEEE!!! You’re like discruminating me……”
I didn’t know whether to hug her or totally crack up.
She actually though I was discriminating against her and treating her different and unfairly. What she took from the Martin Luther King history lesson was how people were wrongfully treated for NO reason and how bad they felt.
“Rain, you chose not to eat a healthy dinner so you are not having dessert,” I tenderly explained. “Your sisters ate their dinner – that’s why they are having a treat. It’s not segregation, my love, you just have to eat healthy. I would never treat you unfairly.”
She walked away sobbing, called her dad, cried her “Martha Jr.” story to him and said I was “discruminating” her. He had no clue what the hell she was talking about.
But I totally loved how she felt the pain of our history and was able to relate it to her own world. Pretty profound really. What I liked most was her conviction to not be treated unfairly and express herself. It didn’t win her a piece of taffy, but I was so impressed with her emotional connection and it revealed yet another beautiful character trait she possesses. I loved seeing her fight for what she wanted from a meaningful place.
The next day, we talked about the importance of treating all people with love while eating a bag of taffy.