This past week I (Mike) had the opportunity to see a pre-screening of the new movie Selma, which debuted in theaters across the U.S. yesterday. The film was overwhelming on many levels. I knew my heart would be moved. I just had no idea to what degree!
Let me begin by sharing a little background on me, in case this is your first time visiting Confessions Of A Parent. I’m an adoptive father of 8 amazing children. Three of our children are African-American. We adopted all of our children from the Indianapolis, IN area. I love each of my kids deeply, and we love our family’s diversity. In fact, we love it so much that we really don’t notice our differences. The way we see it, we’re…us.
That’s probably why I was hesitant, at first, to see Selma. I knew the backstory, and the overall plot. I knew the film would incite emotions that would be difficult for me. I struggle with anything that illustrates barriers or divisions. My greater hesitation, however, was watching a film depicting human beings, brothers and sisters of mine, creations of the same God who created me, being brutalized out of ignorance and hatred. As I drove to the theater, stood in line, and eventually took my seat, all I could picture were my 3 children who’s only difference from me is the color of their skin. My heart wrenched in my chest. I couldn’t take seeing them hurt, ever!
In case you need a brush up on history, the film depicts one of the most brutal battles Martin Luther King Jr. fought, during the Civil Right’s Movement, to allow African-American people the right to vote. It primarily focuses around the few months he spent in Selma, Alabama in 1965, where an historic freedom march was organized from Selma to Montgomery. That march, and events surrounding it, prompted President Lyndon B. Johnson to sign into effect the Voting Rights Act, allowing African-American people the right to vote.
The previews rolled, lights dimmed, and I clutched the arms of my seat. For a little more than 2 hours, I was overwhelmed by the power and inspiration of Selma. While graphic at times (a little more on that in a minute), Selma hit the mark on so many levels. I personally walked away with some powerful reminders!
We Are One.
All creeds, races, ethnicities, and colors are one! That’s the way God sees it and that’s the way I see it. That night, the theater was filled with different races, creeds, socio-economic backgrounds, and religious affiliations. It was an amazing sight to see. We occupied seats as brothers and sisters, undivided. Without spoiling the film, there is also a powerful message of unity portrayed in several parts of the film. This was very inspiring!
History Is The Greatest Teacher.
I couldn’t help but celebrate how far we’ve come. Sure, we have quite a ways to travel but we’re growing. I hope this film can further inspire all human beings to live in unity. I felt excitement, walking out of the theater, as I thought about this new day we live in and the opportunities we have, regardless of race or background. History can teach us so much if we let it do so.
I’m Personally Grateful For King’s Fight.
As the father of 2 African-American girls, I cannot begin to express how grateful I am for the cause that King stood for, but more important, would not stop fighting for! As I stood in the theater with my friend, after the movie’s end, we talked about how world-changing this movement was and the overwhelming good it did for humanity. I made the comment, “If it weren’t for his fight, I might not be the father of two of my daughters!” For that, I’m forever grateful.
My Recommendations Before You Take Your Kids To See Selma:
- Research– Take some time to research the march from Selma to Montgomery in 1965. Read reviews on Selma and prepare yourself first, as a parent, before taking your children to see it. The Civil Rights movement was one of the most important movements in U.S. History but it was also extremely violent and awful because human beings were senselessly brutalized. You may even want to see the film first. Selma was very powerful and very appropriately presented but it might conjure up some emotions within your children that they do not understand or are ready for. Be ready to respond.
- Discuss- Spend a good amount of time talking with your children about the Civil Rights Movement, and Martin Luther King’s vision. Listen to their thoughts and allow them to ask questions. Before my girls see the film, we are going to spend a good amount of time talking, listening and dialoging.
- Prepare- The film is pretty graphic when it comes to depicting the brutalization of human beings in that era. It’s also very raw in terms of the hateful things that were said to, and about, African-American people. There is explicit language throughout the movie. I believe this creative license was good, because, even from a movie, it’s healthy for us to experience the reality of this era. It’s shocking to think that these events actually happened, but it’s a time we should never forget. May it change us! May it change your family. As a parent, however, you will want to prepare your children.
- Share- It’s important for you to share your perspective on civil rights and racial differences with your children. In our household there are no barriers, color differences, or divides. We make that clear with our children. We have a belief that all human beings are made in the image of a loving Creator and all are equal. There is no one person or race superior than the other. This is culture in our home, and with our children. Not because some of our kids are African-American, but because that’s the best way to live as human beings, whatever your race, as far as we’re concerned.
I highly recommend Selma. It is a very powerful, yet very appropriate film. Make sure your children have the right perspective going in, and that they are ready emotionally, and spiritually, to handle the tough things they will see and hear in the film. Be ready to discuss and dialogue the Civil Rights Movement and the equality that we share as human beings. After you see the film, shoot us a comment, Tweet, or Facebook post back and let us know what you thought (without spoilers :-)).
Question: Have you seen the movie. What were your thoughts? (Please DO NOT leave spoilers) You can leave a comment by clicking here.
Get our latest eBook for FREE!
Let’s be honest: parenting is exhausting. You feel worn out, foggy & can’t remember the last time you got a full night’s sleep. That’s why we’ve put together a FREE guide with easy-to-apply, rest multiplying hacks for busy parents. You’re just 9 days away from feeling rested, refreshed & reenergized!