I was just talking with an older and very accomplished man. He told me a story about his grandchild. The grandchild came home from school one day, frustrated.
The child’s teacher was segregating the students by race. The child was being told by his teachers that he was not permitted to play with his black friend, because he was white.
The point that the older gentleman was making to me was that the school was socially backward and he didn’t condone this. The older gentleman wanted his child to respect all people of all colors and ethnicities, as he did.
As a grandfather, he decided to take action. He removed the child from the public school and paid for the child to attend the Catholic school.
The child now has excellent grades and loves his new school that the grandfather pays for each month. This is sort of a happy ending, or at least an improvement, but for one missing element.
The child came to his grandpa with a problem: the problem was that he was not permitted to play with his friend. So the specific problem that the child had, was actually glazed over.
Why was the friend, the black child, not reached out to?
Granted, I don’t know the details. Maybe this was one day in very many days, and one opportunity for friendship that was merely a blip in the radar.
But I can’t help notice that something went wrong for the child here.
I did ask the grandpa if the child ever got to play with his black friend, and he skirted the question.
As I see it, in the end, the child was taught that if he shares a problem with an adult, the adult is going to “solve” the problem by completely altering the path of life that he was on, and in doing that, problem will magically disappear BUT the child will not actually get what he wanted.
The missing part is respect for the child’s wish, and honoring that, or at least attempting to.
If this happens over and over in the child’s life, what will he grow up believing about himself and other people?