I went down to Orlando today to greet the 65 kids from Philly at Disney World.
I gotta tell you, I thought I was giving them a gift, and boy was I wrong. These beautifully faced children of all shades brought tears to my eyes. I'm still feeling it as I think about them. They had so much hope, and they were so excited and happy, it was as if nothing bad had ever happened to them in their lives.
I prayed with them and I challenged them to do well in school. Then I asked a question, I asked, "if one black person robs a bank, does that mean all black people will rob a bank?" They said no. Then I asked them, "if one white person is mean and disrespectful to them, will all white people be mean and disrespectful to them?" They said no, and I was so happy to hear that! I went on to tell them that there was good and bad in all of us, so we are all the same - black, white or whatever. I asked them not to judge everyone by what a few people do to them. I think they got it. I think they understood my point.
Part of my prayer for this situation is that the parents, not only at the Valley Swim Club, but also the parents of these children will walk away with what I walked away with after being with them. Children are resilient. They don't hold on to things, they will mostly take time on the positions and opinions of their parents. And we need to be smart enough as adults to teach our kids to judge by character and not by race. I think they got it. Let's hope we ALL do. It was beautiful. I'll talk to you soon.