Home > Family, Love, Parenting, Teaching > Too alight with love to care

Too alight with love to care

“Mommy, you have pretty hair,” my three-year-old son told me as he reached to touch it.

“You do, too,” I replied.

“No, it’s not. It’s dark,” he said solemnly.

I tried not to show my alarm. “Who told you that?” I asked  as I reached to ruffle his hair.


“Listen,” I said calmly despite the alarm still bubbling up within me. “You have beautiful, curly, dark hair. I wish I had your hair.”

“Oh.” Li’l D, no longer engaged in the conversation, got up and ran off toward more exciting endeavors. My heart remained stuck on those two jarring words: “It’s dark.”

I have no idea where Li’l D heard that “dark” is bad. I cannot undo his hearing it. But what I can do, and what I mean to do, is show him as he grows that misguided words are not all there is in this world. There is joy in abundance, beauty that cares naught for superficial distinctions, and the goodness of knowing that no matter what anyone else sees or says, there is a light inside each of us that demands to shine.

I will strive to teach him to see that light–in those who love him, those who dislike him for whatever reasons, and most of all, within himself.

If he can see it within himself, it won’t matter what anyone else sees.

He will be too alight with love to care.

Categories: Family, Love, Parenting, Teaching Tags: , , , , ,
  1. January 18, 2013 at 11:35 pm

    I heard terrible words the other day. I am still trying to absorb them. Words stay with us and the only thing to undo them is great love, great compassion, great empathy and eyes wide open to a world that sees us for who we are in truth as we arrived, to be loved and to give love. Li’l D, will not absorb this as a truth, he has been surrounded by better and more real truths.

    • January 19, 2013 at 5:17 am

      I love this comment so much, I want to kiss it. I don’t know how I could do that, but I sure want to. I believe you are right. I heard very hurtful things growing up, but they mostly didn’t stick, because I felt so enveloped in love that felt much truer than those words ever could.

    • Running from Hell with El
      January 22, 2013 at 9:55 am

      Amen hun. And Deb, he is so, so loved, and in that there is so much beauty and safety. xoxo

  2. January 19, 2013 at 12:00 am

    So glad you blogged about this. I know from experience that it isn’t always what we hear criticized, but often (as kids, esp) what we see praised. It’s an unseen experience for most people who aren’t experiencing it – or loving someone who is.

    • January 19, 2013 at 5:22 am

      Praise is such a powerful tool. I learned that when trying to train my dog. It wasn’t snapping at him that made a change; it was rewarding him for a job well done–not every single time, but frequently at the beginning.

      With my son, I knew we’d have encounters like this, but there is such a difference between imagining and finally seeing/hearing it.

      • January 19, 2013 at 9:58 am

        Mmm. I almost apologized for the world we live in. 😦 It may be impossible as a person of color to escape it unscathed (when people are using “blond” and “pretty” synonymously, for instance)… or it may just take a lot of work, a lot of deciphering, a lot of programming ourselves to notice the destructive messages before they get it and a lot of surrounding ourselves with healthy people whose love isn’t prejudicial. Oh. And a lot of being the bigger person because most people will claim they don’t see the problem in the first place.

  3. January 19, 2013 at 5:46 am

    Just Beautiful.

  4. January 19, 2013 at 5:55 am

    Deborah, you are a wonderful mom. You know the value of love and showing that love to your son can overcome the bad things in this world. God bless you and Anthony and Lil’ D.

    • January 19, 2013 at 6:45 am

      Thank you. I do know the value, having learned it first hand from my mom. I am so thankful for that.

  5. January 19, 2013 at 6:08 am

    I read this and felt for Lil D. I can’t say why but we can hear things sometimes, as a child, and be confused. It happened to me a lot when I was growing up. I think that people or kids may say something and not think too much about it but in some of us it can linger. My favorite book is by Don Miguel Ruiz – The Four Agreements – his first agreement is – “Be Impeccable with your Word”. It sounds simple and yet is very difficult.
    You might like to read this post …
    Hugs for Lil D …

  6. January 19, 2013 at 7:07 am

    You can’t protect him from all the hurt in this world, but you’re right to nurture his sense of self worth from the very youngest age. So many go forward in life not knowing that they are good and beautiful because of their uniqueness and what’s inside. Too many think that the only things that equals “beautiful” are the physical attributes that society has deemed acceptable. Your son is lucky to have parents who will show him that he is a beautiful person, both inside and out.

  7. January 19, 2013 at 8:51 am

    Stop making me cry. I’m in my dentist’s waiting room. Well said, my friend.

  8. January 19, 2013 at 9:00 am

    So beautiful and appropriate for him, well done.

  9. January 19, 2013 at 10:26 am

    You’re off to a good start. Teach him that any colour hair is beautiful – then teach him that what’s INSIDE the head is far more important than colour. Believe me, I used to have a real “thing” for blondes. Then I found out, over time, that a great many of those “blonde jokes” are far too true in many cases!
    Besides, any fool can look good with fur. Only REAL gorgeous folk can rock a “chrome dome”! (And then there’s the rest of us who are just “folically challenged”…. 😉 )

  10. January 20, 2013 at 12:31 pm

    Kids pick up the subtle and not-so-subtle nuances from society so quickly. You are doing him a great favor by nipping it in the bud.

  11. Miranda Gargasz
    January 21, 2013 at 7:00 am

    As a girl who grew up thinking pretty = blonde, and noticing it’s stark contrast to my dark locks, I admire your mission to teach him that “dark” isn’t bad. Love and awesomeness have lots in common, the most important thing being that they come in all colors.

  12. January 21, 2013 at 7:35 am

    Way to go, Mom! Take what could be a sad moment and make it self-affirming.

    BTW, I’m blonde and always wanted to have dark hair. Blondes have the reputation of being ditzy and dark-haired people are taken more seriously. The grass is always greener…

  13. Marta
    January 21, 2013 at 3:51 pm

    I’ve been trying to teach myself the same and even when I think I’m almost there I get side tracked by a negative comment that someone made and that innate need to please takes over. I wish I was too alight with love to care. I think it’s one of the best things we can teach our kids!

  1. December 21, 2014 at 10:24 pm

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