If Children Ruled the World

Out of the mouths of babes oft times come gems.

When my son was around 2 years old we were practicing naming colors. When I asked him to point to something brown he pointed to my knee. He said, “You’re brown, Mommy, and Daddy’s pinkish. What am I?” I’d thought about having this biracial identity conversation but didn’t think it would be happening so early. My son listened silently as I launched into a long explanation that I hoped I’d simplified enough for a toddler. That afternoon, when we were in line at a grocery store, my little boy suddenly shouted out of the blue, “Me know! Me beige-ish!”

“What am I?”

Of course he had no concept of skin color as racial identity. He was 2. The actual color of skin was simply an observable fact — like the green of grass or the blue of sky. Race is something adults made up. Literally made up, because there is no basis in science.

Later, when he was about 6 or 7, my son asked me why we went to “so many different churches.” As an agnostic, non-religious person, I wanted to expose my child to various places of worship so he could grow up to decide for himself what he believes. I explained to my young son that people have different beliefs about what God is, and one belief isn’t better or more right than another. When I told him I wanted him to be able to decide for himself what God is he replied, “But Mommy, I already know what God is. God is in all of us. It’s the part of us that stays to look after the people we love after we die.”

What a beautiful sentiment. Don’t you just love the clear and open hearts of young children?

We eventually settled on a Unitarian church after visiting on youth day, when young people spoke about what being a Unitarian meant to them. “What does being Unitarian mean to me? It means God or no God, it’s up to me,” said one 8-year-old boy. One after another the youth in the congregation spoke about acceptance, tolerance, community service, and love for all.

When he was 13, my son stood in that church to give his “coming of age” speech. He was comfortable enough to tell this: “I am agnostic. I am also dyslexic. Do you know what an agnostic, dyslexic, insomniac does at night? Lies awake wondering if there is a Dog.” There was laughter. I was proud. Don’t you love the power of laughter, especially when we can laugh at ourselves?

Childhood Innocence Doesn’t Last…

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if childhood innocence could remain indefinitely? Unfortunately my conversations with my son and only child grew more serious. Like every Black mother of a Black son, I began the talks about how he needed to handle himself around police. I had to explain why his White friends could congregate in groups wearing hoodies, but he, a tall boy of color, could be seen as a threat if he did the same thing. I had to explain why he could not run around his father’s tony neighborhood playing with Airsoft guns like the White boys, because if he did he could be shot and killed as a Black “man” with a gun.

In high school my son experienced shock and outrage when a Black friend and classmate, a quarterback and National Honor Society member, was targeted in our neighborhood because of the color of his skin. His friend was selling fundraiser tickets for their high school football team after school, going door to door on the street behind their house. A White resident called police to report “a suspicious African-American man going up and down driveways.” She told the dispatcher he might have a gun “or a cell phone” in his hand. Four police cars came within minutes. The officers’ guns were drawn. Fortunately, another Black mother had had the talk and her son knew not to reach for his I.D. He was humiliated and terrified, but not killed.

…But What if it Did?

If only we all could learn from the pure hearts and open minds of children.
Expat.com article

Not long ago I read an article about racism experienced by travelers and expats of color. The article itself struck me as nothing new, but the comments disturbed me.

Non-Black people on the forum posted hate-filled, nonsensical political commentary — as if racism is a “left-wing” political construct. A White person saying racism doesn’t exist is the same as a man saying sexism doesn’t exist. How would they know? The comments were angry, defensive, and ridiculous. Surprising only because I’d wrongly assumed — as a future expat preparing to move to Portugal — that folks on an expat forum were likely to be more worldly and open-minded in their thinking.

Of course not every traveler encounters racism — or religious hatred or sexism. Many never do.

When I was much younger and traveled to Italy, my negative experiences with angry and racist Italian-Americans in my city’s Little Italy neighborhood made me afraid of encountering the same behavior abroad. Fortunately, however, nothing could have been further from the truth. Citizens of Italy were friendly and welcoming, and I loved my time in Venice and Rome. Similarly, my family’s earlier negative experiences with Irish-Americans here in the US made me wary when I traveled to Ireland in my 40s. I needn’t have been worried. The people of Ireland treated me with nothing but kindness.

A neighborhood trattoria in Rome became a favorite spot on my honeymoon.

When my sister and I traveled to Spain in 1993 we had no concerns. We expected to have a wonderful time. Unfortunately, we were shocked by frightening, ugly, overtly racist and anti-Semite behavior during our stay in Madrid. Swastikas and the words “morta negros” (“dead niggers”) were spray-painted on buildings. We were followed around a department store by security guards. A group of young men kicked a garbage can at us while making monkey sounds as my sister and I walked back to our hotel from a flamenco bar and restaurant at night. Yes, I know of Black and Jewish travelers and expats in Spain who have had no issues with racism or religious hatred. But my experience there is burned into my memory and has prevented me from wanting to go back to this country that shares a border with my future home.

Pissed off in Madrid
Racial and religious hatred exist globally. I certainly don’t have to leave my own country to encounter frightening levels of ignorance.

Whether traveling the world or just down the street, we can encounter racial or religious intolerance and hate. It is everywhere, as we are constantly reminded by media coverage of increasing numbers of hate crimes. But children aren’t born hating. They learn hate as they get older.

Oh how wonderful it would be if we stopped growing haters and started nurturing peace-makers. Here’s to creating a world brimming with love, laughter, understanding, and compassion. I can’t think of a better gift for our children.

My greatest gift. All the love in the world.

All images are my own.

The Hot Goddess

Instagram: retired_rewired_inspired

If you enjoyed this please remember to Share, Like, Follow, Comment, Subscribe. (This is my “call to action” I’m supposed to include in every post. Thanks so much for your support!) ❤


  1. What a powerful and beautiful post. As a white woman with a white son. I can’t imagine what it takes to have those conversations with my son. I admire your honesty and your courage. Never change. I wish all children could stay wise and not have to learn such ugly lessons.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Young children should make the final decisions about how we treat each other. Your son’s explanation of God was truly precious. ❤️ Thank you for such a beautifully written post about the good and the bad in this world.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I often think of the challenges my nephew had growing up (biracial boy adopted by two gay men) and now moving into adulthood. I do love that he plans to further his education in criminal justice. This is a beautiful post about your son, Nat. I can’t believe that people actually think racism isn’t real or just a leftist political construct.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I totally agree that we need to be raising kids who are loving and not hate-filled. I hope this will change in the near future.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Your son saw things very clearly. His quotes are precious. Racists don’t get to define racism. A blogger who was strongly against removing offensive statues once claimed there was no racism in Spain. People see what they want to see.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh John, you put it so well! “Racists don’t get to define racism. People see what they want to see.” So true! Thank you for reading and commenting. I know I’m biased as his mother, but my son continues to have the gift of empathy and a knack for bringing people together. ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Natalie, what a powerful post about the hideous scourge of racism. Racism ( in its many forms of prejudice and discrimination) and inequality are my two greatest heartbreaks, and I don’t even experience either myself. I just can’t bear how human beings treat each other altogether too often. Your son sounds like he is one of those special people who was born wise. He sure had his spiritual grounding figured out at an early age! Thank you for this post. I may be reblogging it some day soon.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. 💜 As an Energetically Evolving Black ⚫️ Human Being who is actually Brown 👌🏾 🔥 🤔 😐 ✨️ 🙃 👌🏾 I Have Returned to The Purity of My ChildLike State EveryOne; so I Know NOT!!! to “reach for my ID” whether The “Police Officer” with a “Drawn Gun” is Black ⚫️ or White or Other…as a Child I Was Beaten Brutally in The Name of Discipline by My Black ⚫️ Deceased Dad and Experienced Racism from Blacks ⚫️ and Non-Blacks; so, These Days, I AM Primarily Operating from a Place of Knowing, having Ascended to 5D+ Awareness in a 3DEnvironment, rather than Memory just like a Child Before They ARE Corrupted by Groan Ups


    Liked by 1 person

  8. What a beautiful post! I agree that we should be growing peace makers in our children. I appreciate the varied experiences you shared and loved the pics of your beautiful family. Best Wishes always! Leigh


  9. If children ruled the world, we’d be probably be living in peace with one another. A powerful, spot-on and beautifully written account, Natalie. Thank you so much this refreshing perspective and your experience as well as sharing your gorgeous family photos. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Natalie!!! First I LOVE all of the pics with you and your son. He sounds like an amazing kid and Omg that speech he gave at 13 is hysterical and brilliant! Reading about your experiences all over the world, I’m both so touched and horrified. Horrified how fucked up people are (what the fuck?!?!) and touched by how there are equal parts kindness. Which solidifies the idea that racism is so personal. Yes it can be exacerbated and supported by a culture. But it comes down to each individual person and their capacity for kindness and color blindness. I’m so sorry for all of your experiences and am also so impressed by your humor and strength in the face of all of it. Your son is lucky to have you!! xoxox

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much, Libby! ❤️ My son is amazing and very funny. And I also am gratified by the kindness in the world, while being horrified by the hate. You’re right about the power of personal choices, too. Hugs 🌺 💜

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Beautiful and powerful post – I LOVE the pictures of you and your son at all ages. So sweet. But I love your conclusion, “Oh how wonderful it would be if we stopped growing haters and started nurturing peace-makers. Here’s to creating a world brimming with love, laughter, understanding, and compassion. I can’t think of a better gift for our children.”

    Yes, yes, yes!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. What a fantastic post! I just love the simple, childhood thoughts that surface in these words and how simply children view things like race and religion. How good things would be if we all held onto those young perspectives! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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