I Used Half My Brown Crayon!

“Fellow citizens, we cannot escape history. We of this Congress and this administration will be remembered in spite of ourselves. No personal significance or insignificance can spare one or another of us. The fiery trial through which we pass will light us down in honor or dishonor to the last generation.”   –Abraham Lincoln

Barack Obama taking his oath on the Bible used for Abraham Lincoln's oath. By Collin Spear

Barack Obama taking his oath of office on the Bible used for Abraham Lincoln's oath. By Collin Spear and hanging on our fridge.

by Gary

This past Tuesday, Collin and I had a boys night out. I picked him up from Kindergarten and we headed out to one of his favorite places: Bass Pro Shop. Ah yes, the homeland of all things outdoors and earthy, which is ironic to me since the store in Clarksville isn’t within miles of anyplace remote enough to shoot a gun legally.

On the drive down, I asked Collin what he’d done in Kindergarten that day. He said they watched the inauguration. I was very impressed that he’d  not only watched but that his teacher, Cheryl Hardman, had talked to them about history taking place. In fact, the kids had been asked to draw something about the inauguration during Writer’s Workshop that day. I asked Collin what he’d drawn and he said Barack Obama with the Abraham Lincoln Bible. That’s cool, I said, how did the drawing turn out? Collin said, “It’s a good one but I used half my brown crayon drawing him and coloring it in so now I need a new one.” Now, keep in mind that Collin has been an Obama fan since the election so this was in no way a social or racial comment; just the innocence of a child stating the obvious.

Collin said they’d also been talking about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. so I asked him to tell me about Dr. King. Collin said that Dr. King fought for people to all be treated the same but that he’d fought with words and not with guns. I was very proud of that answer and of his understanding. We talked more about the civil rights movement and what it meant and still means. Collin told about hearing that some businesses had signs that said only white people could come in and that black people weren’t allowed. I told him that was true and asked him what he thought about it. Collin said God made people to be different colors and if He likes it that way so should we. Amen. I was proud again.

I took this chance to reinforce to Collin that people are people, all loved by God no matter what color they are. So I asked Collin who we knew that was a different color than us. I wanted him to think about our black friends and asian friends so he could see how our lives are diverse even here in southern Indiana. But Collin said he didn’t know anyone who was a different color, which isn’t true because our church family and youth group are diverse. So I pressed him to think. He still couldn’t think of anyone so I cued him for an answer.

“What about the Taflinger boys, who play with you all the time”, I asked. Still no clue from Collin. “Think about Sebastian”, I said. With widening eyes and look of realization, Collin exclaimed, “Sebastian IS black!” I was shocked that Collin had never noticed this fairly obvious fact but then my realization set in. Collin had never considered this an issue enough to draw a distinction in his mind. But now I’d pointed it out. Collin will now forever be aware of color when before, he wasn’t.

Is this bad because now he’ll see the diversity? Or is this good because now he’ll see the diversity and choose to accept and love anyway? I’m in the second camp. I don’t think we’re called to live life in the pretense that we’re all the same. If God wanted us to think that, then He would have made us all the same. What I want is for Collin to see the differences and still see the hope in all people with his eyes wide open. But the tough part is that this calls us to engage in thinking and intentional choices to except people. Seeing people for who they are doesn’t allow us to take our ease but rather calls us to a choice; a choice to love. And love is always accompanied by actions and inclusion whereas being blind to differences allows you to just float through life.

All of this makes me take notice of how people are thinking, acting and responding to this new era in our country, to this new history that we are making. People sometimes make me laugh and smile and other times despair. Many people don’t think enough before they speak or write or post a facebook status. Others overthink.

So in this vein of thought, I copied down some of my favorite status posts on FaceBook from Tuesday, the day of the inauguration. Some of these are great, some important, some funny, some gracious, some kind, some tongue-in-cheek, some naive, and some sadly shallow and mean. I’ll include them here without reference to who wrote them. If you want my personal thoughts on the election, the inauguration and Barack Obama, then see my blog entry entitled ‘Black and White, Beware.’

Here are my favorites. I didn’t clean up any language or spelling but left it as posted. Read them all; they’re worth it…

…is on her way to inauguration!

…is amused by scared people.

…Planning on watching the inauguration today with my students!

…is praying for our new President today!

…is waiting for the changing of the guards…. out with the old…. in with the new! OBAMA!

…is ready for change!

… is ready for everyone to lay down their arms and poop kittens and rainbows forever onward starting today. 

…is heading to school…republican or democrat, this is a big day in American History…gonna be teaching this one forever.

…is proud to be an American today!!

…is awaiting the end of the world and a bunch of warlock shit to come out of the zipper in the sky when Obama is sworn in.

…still hasn’t received his promised unicorn to herald in the coming of this new magical kingdom.

…is grooving to the funk music on CNN.

…Oh, happy day! I’m more excited about Inauguration Day than I was about Christmas!

…Please don’t tell me you think he is the messiah?!?

…has many guesses about what the note inside the desk says.

…can’t help but think there are morons wondering where The Gap store is at the National Mall.

…michelle always dresses well 🙂

…I see my president!!

…why aren’t those Obama girls in school today?

…is excited about the coming of the new savior, the end of all conflict, and the dawn of the promised land.

…is watching the inauguration and really thinks that Mrs. Obama could have gotten gloves to match her jacket.

…is amazed at the power of people unifying together for a purpose. America has hope afterall!

…is watching the peaceful transfer of power.

…is gathered around a computer with all the preschool staff and kids watching history happen.

…wonders if anyone else is annoyed that Obama flubbed up his oath?

…says that the oath has been administered, but he didn’t see the skies part nor did he hear the harp music.

…is OBAMA!!! obama!!! OBAMA!!! i woke up this morning HaPpY cuz i have a good girlfriend ♥ Tabby ♥ and now The AWESOME president Barack Obama!!!! *****.

…is hearing televisions across America being muted as people remember why they don’t like poetry.

…is verklempt.

…is in awe. What a beautiful moment in time..

…is frustrated and disappointed.

…trying to turn his frown upside down.

…is ready to move on past everything. let’s just get on with life.

…just watched the inauguration. I love experiencing history (even if I don’t agree)

… is glad prayer is still apart of the inaugaration ceremony.

…is ready to finally win this revolution.

…is hoping for the best, preparing for the worst.

…is proud of her country today.

…thinks Obama should be treated like Bush was treated… Stocks dropped today . . . Positively Obama’s fault.

…is awiating the return of normal television. Obama mania is bigger than Hulk Hogan in the 80’s – whatcha gonna do when Obama mania taxes wild on YOU?

…wonders if Utopia will live up to the hype.



Filed under New Thoughts

4 responses to “I Used Half My Brown Crayon!

  1. Kim

    “Collin said God made people to be different colors and if He likes it that way so should we. Amen. I was proud again.”

    This made me smile. =)

    We teach our kids the same message, and that life is much richer if all people have their needs met and fulfilled.

    The status updates from Facebook are awesome.

  2. Sharing the Facebook status updates was a great way to recall how people felt during the moment.
    Your candor about your concern that your altered Collins’ perspective on diversity was powerful.
    Among my favorite lines: “Collin said God made people to be different colors and if He likes it that way so should we. Amen. I was proud again.” Amen indeed. Children can teach adults lessons we overlook innocence as we advance and work.

  3. I enjoyed this entry as well as others throughout your blog. I hope I can become as transparent and candid, entertaining and engaging as I maintain my new blog as evidenced by yours.


    Jeannine F. Hunter

  4. Joe Hedrick

    Hey Gary,
    Just dropping by to say… good stuff man.
    Thanks for lunch. It was a true pleasure meeting you and hearing your story.

    Hope to keep in touch.
    Keep up the blogging!

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