I don’t write about our oldest son Trey often because he’s easy. You know what I mean. He’s that child who is friends with everyone, kind by nature, and a true momma’s boy. That’s not to say he’s without any faults….he’s still human. In fact, when we were mulching our flower beds, I actually understood why some mothers eat their young. He continually stood in one spot while I worked circles around him. He was also talking my ear off and I realized he had a major man flaw; he didn’t have the ability to talk and work.
Anyway, that’s not the point. This week we came to the beach to just get away. The fact that we even have the ability to do this is not lost on me. We have the ability to pick up and leave without worrying about things left behind. J.O. is out of a job, but we still have money. That’s not the reality for most Americans who are out of work. In fact, it’s why I find myself so torn on the coronavirus crisis. Not torn on the precautions we should take (masks, social distancing, hand washing), but torn on my personal opinion. It’s not life changing for us to alter our lifestyle and stay home but for a ton of people it is. Childcare is a necessity for Americans to work so I refuse to judge people who send their kids to summer camps or daycares. Staying home is not an option for all. It’s very easy for me to have a strong opinion when I don’t face the same reality.
I digress again. This week Trey has found a new found freedom on his bike. This is the best place to ride for miles because it’s extremely flat. We’ve allowed him to take off and explore on his own. I went with him the first two days, but then he took additional rides solo. Yesterday, he grabbed his wallet and rode to the ice cream shop down the street for some ice cream in private. It gave him a taste of independence while still (hopefully) being safe.
However, yesterday when I sent him off and told him to call me when he got there, I realized something. I was worried about his traffic skills, but not worried at all about him riding a bike through neighborhoods. Not at all worried about people thinking he’s suspicious or up to no good. Or questioning his motives. Or drilling him at the ice cream shop about paying with cash and where it came from. None of that was a fear for me. Even when he pulled over in a neighborhood and took a break and was on his phone. Nothing concerned me about that at all.
I guess I’m rambling to say this. It’s never been more evident than now our society is still in favor of families like mine. That’s just a fact. It’s not Trey’s fault that this is his reality, but it gives him a responsibility. Responsibility to at least recognize it and acknowledge it. It should change the way he does things. Change the way he looks at things. It’s going to be tempting for him to read articles and think, “I wonder what really happened?” or think, “I would never do that.”
You know, we have all become experts during this time. We are all sharing some pretty amazing articles and statistics with little thought to their accuracy. And the truth is, we share what is relevant and helpful to us. Want the world to stay completely locked down? Find a statistic to back it up. Conspiracy theory? Share something to support that. Think we should open up tomorrow and the most vulnerable stay home? Find some doctors who agree with you.
I could find any statistic I want on fostering and adopting. And if I couldn’t find what I wanted, I could write a pretty convincing article and label myself an expert.
During this time, we shouldn’t be naive. Ask yourself questions and do some scholarly research. But make sure you acknowledge your own privilege while doing it. It’s easy for me to enjoy this week at the beach. It really is. I have some amazing in-laws who are here too and J.O. has been more relaxed than I’ve seen him in some time. I’m not worried about our ability to go home and pay the bills. At least for a while…. This will go down as a great vacation although it came from a storm in our life. That’s called privilege.
This is one of the hardest things to teach Trey without making it his fault. It’s not his fault he was born a middle class white boy, but it’s our responsibility to make sure he’s not the man chasing the jogger in the truck one day. It’s our responsibility to help him see all sides of the coin and to help him see our reality is not the same for most. My biggest hope and prayer is that he grows up so focused on Jesus that this is not hard for him to grasp. Because truthfully, that’s everything Jesus embodies. It’s much easier to teach our child to see others through the lens of grace and love when he is looking at others through the lens of Jesus.