3 Conversations My Multi-Racial Family Is Having About #NoBanNoWall.

This past week my children came home from school repeating political rhetoric they no doubt heard from classmates at school. Instead of counter with our opinion, we chose to have a conversation about it.

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I can’t scroll through my Facebook feed without seeing it. Trump is refusing access to Syrian refugees. Trump wants to build a wall on the boarder of the United States and Mexico. Trump wants to use tax-payer’s money to do so. Trump is misunderstood. Trump is the anti-Christ. Give Trump a chance. Here’s what Trump’s executive order really means. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah….and blah! I just want to see what people are up to on Facebook! Is that too much to ask?

Truth is, I can ignore it all. Trust me. I’m really good at ignoring stuff I don’t want to listen to, or discuss. I rarely watch TV news, and I don’t care who won what reality TV show contest or gave what rose to what girl. But since my kids, who live in our multi-racial family, go to school outside of the home, they’re hearing all of the refugee ban and wall talk too. Not on Facebook, not on their USA Today app….from classmates. Elementary-age classmates who no doubt heard it from their parents.

Let me be clear- I do care about the ban, the wall, and Trump’s election. In fact, I have some very strong opinions on all of it. But, I’m not going to share them in this post. My opinions are not the point. Nor are they the point when my children come home spouting rhetoric they heard from their classmates, who heard it from their parents, who spend way too much time watching cable news and believing everything they say. The point is what I can teach my children in the middle of all of this. And that’s precisely what we’re doing. We’ve decided to put our personal political opinions (even though we have them), aside and have 3 critical conversations with our children…

  1. A Conversation About Equality. The most important thing we want our children to learn through this recent election, last year’s police shootings, the recent Women’s March, and #NoBanNoWall is that every single human being, whether they are black, white, Hispanic, Asian, Syrian, Iranian, Iraqi, Haitian, German, Russian, Chinese, Japanese, female or male, gay or straight, religious or not, is equal. E-Q-U-A-L. There is no lesser than, or greater than…there’s just equal. If we, as adults and parents, represent this truth to the best of our ability to our children, they will see the truth in everything being said and done in our country, and the world, right now. One more thing we’re teaching them- when you fear someone or something without reason, or just because you were told to, you are behaving unequally.
  2. A Conversation About American History. We live in the land of the free, and the home of the brave. This is a country that was built on the backs of hard-working, honest immigrants who came to our soil looking for the opportunity they, and every other human being on planet earth, deserves. Our forefathers designed a nation where tired, poor, hungry, abused, homeless, and fearful could find solace. This is what makes our land great. This what makes America beautiful. This is the dream our forefathers had for this great land. Not that we insulate ourselves, but that we throw open the gates to help those who are oppressed and mistreated around the world. I want my children to have this perspective toward the human race. I want them to have hearts that help, and spirits that propel them toward those in desperate need.
  3. A Conversation About Biblical Principles. Our family holds true to the teachings of Jesus in the book of Matthew, Chapter 25- “And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’ “Then the King will turn to those on the left and say, ‘Away with you, you cursed ones, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his demons. For I was hungry, and you didn’t feed me. I was thirsty, and you didn’t give me a drink. I was a stranger, and you didn’t invite me into your home. I was naked, and you didn’t give me clothing. I was sick and in prison, and you didn’t visit me.’ “Then they will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and not help you?’ “And he will answer, ‘I tell you the truth, when you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me.’ “And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous will go into eternal life.” (Matthew 25:37-46, NLT)

    I don’t ever, ever, ever want to find myself on the wrong side of the Lord’s judgement because I turned someone away who was in need…who had less than I had…who needed help, or longed for hope. This is a truth we will live and die on. The truth is, some of our children could have been homeless, or left for dead, or alone and cold on the streets. They could have found themselves oppressed, unfairly judged, or mistreated. They could have been the least of these that Jesus describes. But they weren’t. And because of this, we are raising them to see the world without boundary, without division, and without walls. We are raising them to care deeply for the least of these.

So, no, we’re not filling their heads with our opinions, or political rhetoric. We’re teaching them equality, what true American values are, and the words of Jesus Himself. We’re teaching them to extend the same freedom they’ve been given. After all, there is no greater privilege.

Question: What conversations are you having with your children? Share with us in the comment section of this post. You can leave a comment by clicking here.

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  • Davina Rae

    Thank you for your thoughts on how to have these difficult conversations with our kids.

  • Kim

    We have been having very similar conversations in our home with our two oldest! I have also been challenging them to really examine what being pro-life really means, because many of their classmates’ parents vote a particular way because of that one issue. We are asking our kids to value the life of the unborn, yes, but also the refugee, the widow, the minorities, the poor in our midst, the prisoner and the orphan.

    • Absolutely! These are valuable conversations that will have a profound impact in their lives Kim. Well done.

  • Sunshine

    Great article! I just had this conversation with my daughter yesterday.

  • David H

    Mike, it’s great to have these discussions with your kids but don’t be mistaken. You are in very subtle ways, teaching them your political bias. Sometimes in the ways you ask the questions you ask. Sometimes in the ways you present the truth. We too have a multi cultural family of adopted kids that have come from many different backgrounds. One of the things we must do is to help them wade through these differing opinions (including ours) and take them before the Lord and His word and weight them under the light of real truth.
    Take your second point about the history of America and how it has always been an open nation. A nation that welcomes those who are poor, tired, hungry, oppressed, etc. Building a wall may or may not change that. Are you asking your kids to ask the why behind the what? Example: My house has walls and doors and locks on those doors. They are their for many different reasons. To protect my family, to provide a barrier between us and the elements, to provide safe boundaries and a place where you feel at home and included. We can choose to be exclusionary and make it difficult for others to enter or we can be welcoming and make it easy. That is a heart issue, not a wall issue.
    What I’m saying by this is teach them to look at the underlying reasons behind the actions. First in their own hearts and next as the groups that they are part of (such as the family, their school, their community and their country). The difficult part of weighing others motivations is that only they and the Creator can truly know their motivation so you can only know what they tell you. This becomes a very slippery slope for us when we start to judge the motives of others. So, teach them to weight their own hearts as they evaluate things. How are they judging the motives of others? How can they help?How should they pray for those in leadership? How can they engage others in a way that is building people up and motivating right actions instead of tearing down and creative division. If we are all E-Q-U-A-L, and I would agree we are, how can we help bring unity in this diversity instead of division?
    Nice job looking at hard stuff in a more positive light with your kids. May you, me and many other parents do the same and help our kids to see the beauty of diversity and the wisdom God can provide to wade through the mess.

    • Allisonm

      A very thoughtful and temperate response. I had the same reaction to Mike’s post, but didn’t know how to express it. You did so very eloquently. Thank you.

  • George Nielsen

    Not knowing the ages of Mike’s children, I want to say that what I am going to mention is beyond what younger kids should hear. Mike left out a point to discuss that is probably the #1 most important point regarding the Border wall. It has to do with violent crime and heavily armed convoys of large trucks carrying drugs across the border, where the local police are outnumbered by criminals 10-to-1, or more, and the criminals have much greater firepower from their military style weaponry. A wall would be effective in deterring the drug trafficker convoys (although I would not be surprised if the criminals still tried to breach the wall). It would take a lot of troops, supported by helicopters, just to secure the border in Arizona alone, without a wall. The other border states could use this too.

    PThe way things are now, the police have no chance at stopping this crime. If they were to try, they would die.