Choose gentle answers to harsh words
by Beyond The Walls by Susan Nelson
Dec 15, 2013 | 203 views | 0 0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Visiting with a friend over the Thanksgiving weekend, we talked on numerous subjects including our children and “the grands” and even my late husband while we tossed a few lobs towards her good-natured husband who had the dubious pleasure of coming along.

We walked through a mall setup like an outlet to help expel some of the kids’ pent-up energy that remained after seven hours on the road. It didn’t seem to help because they had sudden bursts, but with three children and three adults we were evenly matched so we each walked hand-in-hand with a child.

As we stepped out of a larger fine retailer, I turned to my friend and asked if she thought her husband’s ears were tired yet (my daughter had gravitated to him, and I wasn’t sure if she had stopped to breathe in the store at all!)

We’d been through two floors and meandered the departments ignoring his slight moan - “Oh, I really don’t want to go in here,” as we entered.

We didn’t worry because the glint in his eyes and the subdued smile showed a man willing to suffer for the greater good as he “allowed” my daughter to encourage him along. I’d been discussing upcoming plans with my friend months earlier, so she did what she usually does, and began to do some research.

She amazes me in her ability to collects friends like most people collect memorabilia as she had a wide circle from which to choose. Her research ongoing, she gave me the rundown on prejudices since I am a Caucasian woman who has three Hispanic children. Her report did not fare well for my children and that thought alone makes me sad.

Yet I know that despite most of our good intentions, prejudices still exist. A while back, I overheard a child of mixed ethnicities calling my daughter “brown girl.” Honestly, I don’t even see them as different. I really never did, either. I mean I know they are not the same ethnicity as I am, but they have the same needs as we all do, - to be loved, to belong and to have a purpose.

I remember a trip six years ago to my home state, much to my husband’s discomfort. Taking that man out of Texas was a feat! We were repeatedly asked if we had “gotten them” in the U.S. My response, as I smiled seemingly talking out my confusion, was, “Well, ah, San Antonio - in Texas - and we haven’t seceded, yet, so, yes, in the U.S.,” looking about as innocently perplexed as I could.

But no matter where we go, no matter who we encounter, there will be a prejudice of some sort. It is sad that closed minds do not come with closed mouths and that they are a part of life. I will not throw hatred and vitriolic barbs to encourage people to accept us, but instead work to speak kindness and acceptance of their views as I behave in a fashion above reproach. I will do this as a way to encourage my children not to allow the opinions of others mean more to them than what they believe about themselves. They will determine their paths by their attitudes, behaviors, hard work and nothing else.

The book of Romans reads like this: “Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.” (Romans 12:17-18)

OK, yet another journey upon which to embark. Like Winnie the Pooh says, “Think, think, think.” I will plaster post-its with “Peaceably” around my house and car just in case I forget!
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