Thursday, July 23, 2009

Palette

There is a boy at camp that is Indian.

Oh really, so he is from India?

No, like...
(fanciful dancing, waving arms, patting his oval mouth with his hand)

He dances like that?

No, dad.

So did you talk to him?

No, I can't speak Indian.

He was speaking...Indian?

No, he was speaking like regular.

Oh...so what was the problem?

What if he started speaking Indian?

Ummm...how did you know he was an Indian?

He has long hair, down to his butt. And he told the other boys.

You know I used to have long hair.

Dad, you are not an Indian.


How boring would this mosaic, we call life, be if we were all painted in the same drab colors? Would the eerie tingle we feel in our bowels when faced with a stranger grant us a reprieve and allow us boldness to speak? Or would we continue to walk on by engrossed in our own space, eyes cast down, as we listen to the soundtrack we selected for our life on our iPod?

Are stangers really strange or is it just our insecurity over walking away with a little paint on our hands, from someone who does not look, think or act like us?

30 comments:

Jill said...

Brian...I absolutely love your wisdom in this post.

Kids are funny aren't they? "What if he starts speaking Indian?"

I hope I willingly get paint on my hands.

♥ Braja said...

Champion thoughts. Living in a foreign country, I have to say I'm conscious of what you've expressed here, often daily. It's like stepping outside the box, as they say. You're forced to, and either you deal with what's outside or you fight it, reject it, or become bent out of shape. When you see "someone else" in your own circle of life, you apply the prejudices and differences to them; when you move to *their* circle, all that is reversed....and that is something I think *everyone* needs...

Lady Mama said...

Interesting, and good that you're addressing these ideas with your son at a young age. Imagine if everyone encouraged their children to be open-minded.

Joanna Jenkins said...

You can't start too young talking to your kids about this kind of stuff. I take my hat off to you.

Kay said...

haha....although I agree with your words here, I can't help but laugh and say, "oh, no. some people are just strange!" :)

John said...

Brian,
How are you doing?That is very interesting,Avout the indian boy, so true. I left a comment on Brads blog asking about his Church he is a Pastor.Do you know him?Or you know him thr blogging. Im wanting to learn more about different Churchs and their activities. So we can incor[erate them in our Church.aMaybe share ideals.Here is my email prioritypimentel@aol.com If you get time we can share ideals back and forth.May God Bles you and your Family.

Rita said...

Kids! Ya gotta love 'em.

There have been conversations like this in my house as well as those of all parents.

But, you wisdom here is a rare jewel.

Mrsupole said...

Hi Brian,

I hope you are having fun in Florida and not having to deal with too much heat and humidity. We are still hot and humid here in So. CA, I hate it when the weather is like this. I know that parts of Florida are very humid and hot. Although a lot of my heat is caused from menopause and this built in heater that I somehow discovered years ago.

I think I heard that Florida has a lot of Indians living there. Be careful of their bows and arrows, I heard they can shoot them pretty well. And those Cowboys, I heard they shoot pretty good too. Oh okay, playing Cowboys and Indians, must not be the thing kids play today, but it was a lot of fun when we played it as kids.

I am not sure if you know that I am of mixed races and so I think it was easier for us to accept people different than us, cause back then no one was really like us, except our parents. We were the only kids with a Hispanic last name in the whole school. But we were raised as Filipinos. And one Grandma was half Indian or uh Native American. The other one Jewish, talk about being mixed up about who your people are, we had no clue and just thought we were Americans, part of the melting pot. That was all we called ourselves, just Americans, not this kind of American or that kind of American. We are and will always just be Americans. We even thought our last name was just an American name. No one ever told us it wasn't an American name.

My kids and grandkids have even more ancestors from other countries and I teach them that they are just Americans and their ancestors came from other countries, but they are Americans and only Americans. They accept this and do not understand why others are a this or that American.

I think some do not understand that when you leave America and go to another country, the people in that country just call you an American. We are the only ones who add a name in front of American.

This needs to change. Are you an American or are you a ( )American? I know what I am, why do others not know?

God bless.

PS...sorry I got on the bandwagon...uh still playing C and I.

Candie Bracci said...

Exactly Brian!Great words!

Valerie said...

Wise thoughts, Brian.
My country is now so multi-racial I imagine the mysteriousness of different races has almost disappeared. I'm pleased, it took a long time to become sufficiently accustomed to speak freely to each other. In certain areas there is still an awareness that some people are 'different.'

Lorraine said...

Fantastic, you have such a fantastic way of saying what needs to be said, bravo and have a great holiday :)

Mariana Soffer said...

EXcelent post about the difference about culture and racees, looked from the view point of a kid, with his that trying to moderate his thoughts, it is a really good didalogue. And the closure is awesome, how you end the post with that text, or reflexion.

Poetikat said...

Funny how our childhood perceptions seem to be hampered by stereotypes. As far back as the 60s (when I was a tot), my father invited an "Indian" man for dinner. He was East Indian and made a fantastic curry (thus, my love of that food). I made him an Indian head-dress with feathers out of shirt cardboard!

Kat

TechnoBabe said...

Meeting someone who looks or talks different from me has always been a learning experience and another life adventure. It is interesting to hear it from a parent's viewpoint. Mine are grownups with their own kids to raise and I hope I taught them to think as clearly as you are doing with yours.

Fer*Cambe said...

Hey Brian! Thanks for the visit, I'm really enjoying following the blog, really thoughtful stuff. Great!

subtorp77 said...

I've always found such diversity among we humans fascinating, especially the cultures. But being from Europe and of European/Slavik descent, I too have been scrutinised.

Your wisdom knows no bounds here, Brian. Your boys have a good life teacher in you...

Betsy said...

I think we all smiled at the dialogue here, because we can relate. Love the wisdom you showed.
And I bet his hair was gorgeous, even if he did talk 'regular'. :)

willow said...

I think this conversation is practically universal in scope. Kids finally come to an age where they realize not everyone is just like them. And it's food for thought for all of us, isn't it?

Your boys are so lucky to have you for a dad.

Pastor Sharon said...

These are words to live by!!! I want to be covered in paint! In a wholesome way of course! :)

otin said...

I am sure that I am strange to a few people, but I think that is what makes life interesting, most of my friends in my life could be classified as Strange people, and I would't want it any other way!

Leah said...

A very very interesting post, absolutely beatiful last paragraph there. It hasn't come up with Hedgehog so much as she has a totally almost staggeringly multi-culti family and seems to take differences for granted.

lakeviewer said...

Kids get us thinking all the time. Love your expression, getting paint on my hands.

ronda said...

Differences make us uncomfortable don't they? Even kids can tell when someone is not like them. Would love to see a pic of you with long hair.

Baino said...

Haha . .I'm surprised he hasn't met a native American before? Kids aren't usually phased by that sort of thing. Must admit, my kids didn't even notice skin colour until they got to high school and the perceptions of others were imprinted.

books,coffee,etc.... said...

Hi! Brian,
Nice post!...I'am always trying "decipher" your post!...
The moral is...Some people are different and we all should learn to embrace each other differences.

Instead of, "judging" people because they are different...learn to "accept" them because they are different?!?

Thanks, for sharing!
DeeDee ;-D

Brian Miller said...

sorry. its been a long day. made it to florida. nice weather, got a little burned as we played golf. painful interview i know. smiles. i will catch up on comments tomorrow, need to sleep...

Daniel said...

Brian, depends on the person. There is a student around the lab who is balding, but he shaved half of
his head and the let the hairs on the other half grow long. Whenever I see him pass by my window I shake my head and giggle like a school girl.

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

I'm always so taken aback when something like this comes from my son's mouth. I grew up in a very diverse, NYC neighborhood. He's grown up on a dirt road. He goes to a school that has some diversity, and we live in an incredibly diverse town, but somehow, for all our emphasis on this topic within our public school system and our society as a whole, as we get busier and busier it makes it harder to spend time connecting. And I think we connect less with those whom we pass every day, who might provide us with a different cultural viewpoint.

Hmph... guess I'm waxing philosophical today.

Stacy (the Random Cool Chick) said...

What a thought provoking exchange and summary - like others have mentioned, you are a very wise man and your boys are lucky to have you! :)

...mmm... said...

tht is why where i live is so boring. beautiful mountains, yes, but so homogenized it's mind numbing.