This week, someone I know thanked me for raising an African American male. This statement took me by surprise and it's something that I am still processing. I have been told that I have been making choices that are atypical for an African American child.
If you meet my son in person and get to know him, you realize though that his actions have motivated most of my choices for him. My son loves the water so he takes swimming lessons. After seeing horses repeatedly on Elmo, he started to talk non-stop about horses, so now he is experiencing horse back riding. My son fell in love with chickens when he saw them in person for the first time. So we talk about chickens and impersonate them often. I am trying to follow his lead on things because I believe strongly that children have their own inner compass. It's not my job to dictate the direction of his life, but to encourage him to follow his passion.
Of course, some things we have tried and well, they did not take. For example, soccer tots. My son loved soccer tots with the open field, lots of toys and heaps of little people his height. When it came time to do the soccer drills with the coach, my son wanted to use the field cones as microphones. He imagined the hula hoops that the other children were using for shooting drills were actually lawnmowers. On his last day, the coach said good bye to kids with kudos. "Wow, your kid handles the ball so well" or "Your kid is a natural at dribbling the ball". My son got, "He is always so happy".
Yep. We are finding our way. I am glad that I have African American friends to make suggestions and become a presence in his life, but in the end, my son is leading the way here. You don't have to thank me. I am figuring this out as I go.