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Parents Navigate Tough Talks

Parents Navigate Tough Talks

The older I get, the more I understand perspective. And we parents had a major dose of it recently.

I thought it would be tough for this parent to chat with my 7-year-old about aspects of the coronavirus pandemic — but we faced the issues head on.

My aunt passed away in the hospital after testing positive for COVID-19. Ella interestingly is at ease with the topic of death, which reminds of a young me. My 6-year-old brother died when I was 13. That seemed to set me up for the next time, losing my other brother when he was 21 and I was 24. Then losing mom in 2011. If there’s a mourning muscle memory, I guess I developed it.

But it seems easier to understand death in the frame of disease, disability or old age than the color of one’s skin. 

Out of the blue one day, Ella mentioned how some boys don’t want to marry girls and they marry boys. And how some girls don’t want to marry boys and thus marry other girls. And since boys can’t make babies, they sometimes adopt.⁣

A different day, while home schooling and learning about Martin Luther King Jr. (with whom I share a birthday), Ella asked with incredulousness, “You mean they didn’t like it when a person with light skin was next to someone with dark skin?”

If we could just freeze that innocence and tolerance and let it perpetuate through this miracle called life. The day has not yet come to address some of Ella’s ancestors being murdered by genocide because they held beliefs different than the people killing them.⁣ It’s heartbreaking to look back on humanity’s history of intolerance. Even more heartbreaking to think we have to battle it still today.⁣

Imagine a world that doesn’t need tolerance because every human life already is valued equally and allowed and encouraged to flourish, not despite of any differences, but because of them.⁣

It starts with discussions between child and parents. Especially the hard ones.

Being a child entertainer has allowed Ella to be a part of many diverse families roles, reinforcing that life CAN be all-inclusive.

— Lee Nessel


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