Monday, March 11, 2013

Watching the Break The Chains Video with my children

On Valentine's Day I sat my kids down to watch this video that I shared here on this ole' blog space and it was such a powerful experience.  I have 2 boys ages 10 and almost 6 and a daughter that is 8.  It was a delicate conversation because the lyrics do not shy away from reality so there are dynamics that I did not want to expound upon.  By the time I was their ages I already knew a couple of these realities...but they have lived a very different lives.  (They have me as a mom, so they are not unscathed, but I am doing my work and so they won't be exposed in the same ways I was.)  They have had very different childhoods because of the conviction that it would be priority number one for me... to understand my past so I could lift them out of the cycle.  Chains of dysfunction take a couple of generations to really break in my thinking.  I had it a little better than my parents... I believe it is my job to give my kids a little more than I received.

Here were my kids responses to the video:

Boo (10)-  He was impressed with the dancing and a bit horrified that people are cruel to the point of wanting to rationalize it and deny it could be so prevalent.  For him, my goal will now be to help him see beyond his experiences in life.  For the life I've structured for him, there is a focus on equality.  He is old enough to be exposed to stories of injustice a little at a time.  I see him becoming a voice and advocate for those who have no voice someday...if he can develop coping skills that allow him to see the truth and not become frozen by it.  A mom can hope!

Baby J (8)-  My daughter and I have had an ongoing conversation about gender injustice for some time now.  Of my children, she has been more exposed than the boys.  She is after all growing up girl in this world and so there is no way to shield her from the injustice.  Inequality showed up in my  marriage and family after having children and brought with it a legacy of power injustice from the past.  Predictably the past starting it showing up in the family I co-created.  My wake up call came when I saw her being effected by the status quo.  Right then and there I decided it was time for some repair work to be done.  It is her story, so I will not expound but will simply say that there was a healing process for her in her young life and so she already knew a bit about the reality of gender discrimination.  While watching her watch the video I saw her whole countenance change.  She could see herself in all of the women and I am certain it grew her view of her own value.  That's the good stuff.

Bubbas (6-ish)-  He is my most sensitive one.... and he is my kinetic one too so that he could sit still through most of the video proves the power of the images of women dancing to those lyrics.  He said a few gems  to me after the video:

While I explained that boys are usually physically stronger and sometimes boys and men use physical power to hurt girls.  I'll get to the truth that girls use words to hurt boys someday soon, but really he already knows this truth, as he demonstrated in response.  He is a kid who goes to the fists when he loses his temper and we have been working with him to control his impulses, so it's an ongoing dialogue. His responses to my explanation was so telling to me as his mom.

First he said...

"Mom is this true even with sisters?  Even when she's mean?"

And my favorite follow up statement...

 "Mom, we need to treat others like we want to be treated."

Yes my sweet Bubbas, you understand what many cannot.  Out of the mouths of babes.  My goal is to use my life force to help actualize that truth in my heart, in my actions, in my influence.  Thank you sweet children for pointing me to the simplistic truth that is oh so difficult to hold onto sometimes.

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