One of my earliest memories of a close childhood school friend was Stanley. The best man in my wedding and “brother from another mother” was Calvin. Someone who inspired my wife and I in ministry more than he may ever realize was Darrell. A mentor who gave me tough love when I needed it most was Rick. One of our longest standing partners who has impacted thousands of lives over the last 9 years at Loveworks is Marcus. I have another dear friend who I ate one too many late night pancakes with at IHOP and his name is Jonathan.
I’ve never selected my close friends by the color of their skin, but rather by the content of their character. They have been sources of support, encouragement, challenge and friendship. I want to stand beside Stanley, Calvin, Darrell, Rick, Marcus, and Jonathon because Black Lives Matter. These men have made me into the man I am today, and for that I am grateful.
Bernice King, daughter of Martin Luther King Jr, said,
“I just don’t want to leave this world like this for the next generation. I don’t want humanity to live in this now.”
On our blog, I want to take a moment and share a way that our family has been proactive in addressing racism and tell you about a small step that Loveworks will be taking next week.
As many of you know, I have 3 young kiddos, and sometimes my wife and I wonder if we get more wrong than right. Last Thursday, we decided to have a family discussion about the brutal murder of George Floyd. While there was no easy way to break the ice, we started by telling them that we were about to share with them a true story: something very bad that happened to someone, and a lot of people have questions and are upset.
After telling them the story, we decided to show them an image rather than the video. We made this decision because we did not want to use the senseless loss of someone’s life to entertain or manipulate them. Rather, we were hoping and praying that they would be moved by the reality of this story. At first, our 7 year old did not want to view the picture and was visibly shaken by what we had told her. After her younger sister and brother saw the picture of a law enforcement officer’s knee on the neck of George Floyd, she walked over to take a quick look at the picture and then ran over to mom to be comforted. We asked our kids if they had any questions and they were quiet for the most part. We could tell they were taking in the seriousness of the conversation, and though they were young, they knew this was not how any person should treat another.
A couple of hours went by that night and as I sat on the coach and wondered if our conversation was the right thing to do. My 3 year old son jumped up on the coach and then proceeded to ask me a question and that so caught me off guard that I asked him to repeat it a second time. He asked, “Dad, could you tell me more about George?”
I wonder sometimes about the decisions we make as parents. This time, I think we got it right because my son saw the humanity within the man, and not just his color. Speaking of color, I believe that the color of our skin is something that should be celebrated. It’s part of what makes us unique and different.
I recently read that there is a large difference between racial behavior modification vs a changed heart. One way that our Loveworks organization is going to take a step to address the latest events centered around racial injustice is to host a virtual panel that will join us next Thursday evening, June 11th at 7:00pm on LINK. (Facebook, Youtube, and Instagram)
I don’t know if racism will ever go away in my lifetime, but I know we can rise up and do something about it that will pave the way for the next generation to see that black lives matter.
P.S. I mentioned my friend Jonathan at the beginning. He knew George Floyd personally. I encourage you to set your calendar and tune in with your family as you lead the conversations in your home.