Grimm's Musings: On Bias and Bigotry
H.R. Grimm is responsible for this content, which is not edited by the Wilson County News or wilsoncountynews.com.
Today I took the missus to San Antonio Military Medical Center (SAMMC) or Brooks Army Medical Center (BAMC) whichever you prefer. I waited dutifully seated in the main waiting area munching on some popcorn. Around me were people of various racial and ethnicities. There was a young man holding a toddler a few seats away. Neither of them I knew yet the little boy saw my popcorn and without seeking parental permission, asked me for some of my popcorn. I chuckled out loud and asked the Dad to extend his hand. I had the honor of sharing my popcorn.
This has put me into a memory spin. I began to think of my best LIFE instructors who have most impacted me throughout my years. Now, I had been told over and over again it was the water but I have remained skeptical to this very day.
Nevertheless, whatever the cause, three children graced the home within three and half years while for some reason it all seemed to be just my fault. Odd thing though, about the time I got used to them, they grew up with independent minds and wills, then moved away. Quite frankly, I never have been able to get over their absence. Something within me has never been able to fully let them completely go as they are always on my mind and in my prayers.
As I write this, it has now been more decades ago than my mind can fully accept that on this particular day that I am thinking of, I sat in a fast food restaurant while my preschool son enjoyed the inside playground. My job was to watch him at his finest and evidently was to relearn what I had so easily forgotten establishing my place in adulthood responsibilities. His sisters had already moved on from their first teaching assignments of instilling their collective wisdom into their Dad not realizing they had already taught me enough to fill volumes.
Yet, on this particular day, they had moved on from the home and on into their first of many years of experiencing school yard diplomacy. My son must have felt confident that I was ready for public testing as it was now his turn to see if I had been paying attention. You see, my children were my best theological books about love, forgiveness, not holding grudges and acceptance. Of course, as they aged there were still territorial battles to endure as they showed me how they would establish proper boundaries and how they would rule their own kingdoms once they were in power. Funny, fifteen years or so ago I wrote a little book titled, "Who Raised the Dad" but it like many of my earlier writings went unpublished and now are lost.
On this particular day as I sat there I watched him. He had wiggled down from his booster seat after a Happy Meal and gaining my full attention. For some reason he was able to get away from me before I gave him my perfectionistic fatherly scrubbing. As I watched I saw he had a smudge of mustard on his cheek and a spot of ketchup on his shirt. He quickly found him a fellow teacher and they enjoyed each other's company with giggles and laughs as their combined energies burned off empty calories.
I glanced to see if the other student approved and we smiled at each other as we accepted we weren't the only student there. His fellow instructor's hair was slightly disheveled and though matching pink bows had graced her head, one was now missing. They were about the same age, height and their matching brown eyes sparkled with delight. I watched, or I should say, we watched with satisfaction that cannot come from textbooks but life experiences. His white blond hair and her dark black hair whirled past us as we watched as if they were one and the same. Their brown eyes sparkled with delight and unencumbered joy that knew no boundaries, no limit of potential and caught the extent of possibilities that God Himself grasps. These two knew a kindred spirit and with periodic glancing eyes toward us, their students, they checked to see if we were paying attention. When the time came for this lesson to be over they waved to each other as if they fully expected to meet again. The Mother of this precious girl I did not know but she like me seemed to have been a willing student.
What I observed then has never been forgotten. There were no economic or racial differences that day. Joy and enjoyment was theirs as they equally shared what they had.
Now, these years later I still think my children were my best instructors, but then again you see, I may be a little biased as they are my children. As I sat there these many years ago I observed the results of upbringing and that which is taught in the privacy of each home. Yes, we do have differences. Yes, there are unavoidable obvious things that make us unique but it doesn't have to divide us or destroy us. There is a reason we grow from the all accepting infant to becoming untrusting of the world around us. It isn't the color of our skin or cultures, it is what is taught and reinforced in the home. I fear the lyrics of a childhood hymn are no longer PC but the truth is still there. "Red and Yellow, Black and White, they are precious in His Sight."
"Jesus, please help us adults to relearn the lesson you've put into the hearts of little children before us adults destroy this world through our bias and bigotry". hrg