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  • Autumn Swain

Are You ColorFULL?

“Why be colorblind when we can be colorFULL instead?”

asks Dorena Williamson, author of ColorFull: Celebrating the Colors God Gave Us.

It does not matter what hue of brown--whether peach, chocolate, or cinnamon--talking about the beauty of skin color and ethnicity is a commitment every parent should make for their household. If you don’t teach it, you leave thoughts and decisions up to being formed by our society--the good and bad.

I want the beliefs of my children to be informed by truth and light. However, these conversations should not just encourage a healthy paradigm for our kids, but also for us adults.

Over the last few months I have read some amazing books that celebrate people of all skin tones and backgrounds. The wonderful thing is that children haven’t been exposed to all of the negative communications surrounding conversations and subtle messaging in our society. So it's often easy enough to begin these conversations with toddlers and elementary kiddos about the unique and glorious skin God has made them in.

“Why be colorblind, when we can be colorFULL instead?”

Simple, sweet, and true!

Yet my experience of hearing an adult encourage our kids to be colorblind is about the same experience for me as banging my shin on a chair or hitting my silly bone on the door. It's a bit painful and frustrating.

If you haven’t seen Lucretia Berry’s Ted Talk about talking to our kids about skin color, please take a look. “Children will light up the world if we don’t keep them in the dark,” she says.

Just to clarify, it is not a negative feeling I have toward any one person. The frustration is from the fact that people are missing out on what life has to offer, and what people have to offer, when they are attempting to live a life of colorblindness. They are communicating a message with negative roots, instead of focusing on the positivity of color and culture.

So what is the most effective approach in helping adults see the world as colorFULL and not accepting the idea of colorblindness, if it isn’t a beautifully illustrated picture book about kids and color. Collectively, I believe we can address this barrier to true unity in diversity within our youth and adult populations.

You see, unity isn’t the same in an office building as it is on the playground. Kids genuinely seek after differences that adults are intimidated or indifferent to. Either way, its damaging. Unity is not about proximity, its all about position. Whats the position of your heart and mind? And not even just for those around you, but for yourself.

Adjusting position is like correcting posture….there are built in imbalances of your muscles pulling your skeletal system in a certain direction. The only way to correct posture is to be uber intentional, diligent and uncomfortable. After correction, the body can function at full capacity. For example, if we need the whole body fully present, then we could ask our predominately white churches, or Asian churches, or black churches as well as Latino churches to reach across our ethnic and cultural aisles and collaborate on an initiative together in a community. Another example could be digging into the history of a people group represented in your community. Know about their struggles and celebrations past and present. Reach out to those neighbors and be a neighborhood.

“Neighborhood” defined: neighborly feeling or conduct. Is this true of your neighborhood?

12 There is one body, but it has many parts. But all its many parts make up one body. It is the same with Christ. 13 We were all baptized by one Holy Spirit. And so we are formed into one body. It didn’t matter whether we were Jews or Gentiles, slaves or free people. We were all given the same Spirit to drink. 14 So the body is not made up of just one part. It has many parts.

(1 Corinthians 12:12-14)

“Why be colorblind when we can be colorFULL instead?”

Good question! Take on a posture or position of being colorFULL!

Here’s how to begin: Ask yourself the following questions with an open heart and mind.

What do you read to your kids?

What festivals do you participate in?

Who do you ask to meet for coffee in an attempt to befriend a colleague or neighbor?

What matters of current news concern you?

What are you doing about them?

What causes are you supporting?

What do you know about your community?

What issues of your community are you invested in?

Just some food for thought! Now lets go celebrate all the colors God gave us!


Thanks for visiting. Now, we want to hear from you; tell us your Seeing COLOR story.

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