Making strong roots with our children

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Earlier this week I was texting with a friend, and we were chatting about an activity her son is doing at the school this week. His class is putting on a cultural fashion show and they’re all asked to dress in clothes that represent their culture.

“Tim’s 5th great-grandmother was full Comanche Indian, so he’s going to dress in traditional Comanche clothes,” she said.

They were still working out the details of the costume, but have since pulled it off, as they always do.

“That’s so cool he has a Native American history ancestry,” I said. She said it was new to her as well.

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about my family’s heritage, and history and I’ve wanted to learn more for myself, and especially for the sake of my kids.

My parents didn’t teach us black history growing up. I don’t think it was so much that they didn’t want to as much as it probably was that they just wanted us to focus on “fitting in.” Growing up I didn’t realize what I was missing, but now that I’m an adult, I can see gaping holes in my life where knowing more about where I came from, would have made me more confidant in who I am.

I don’t want that to happen to my children. I don’t want them to fumble through life asking themselves “Who am I? Where do I fit in?” I want to arm them with a solid knowledge of where they came from, so they are confidant in who they are. Especially since their lineage is so diverse.

Interracial family photo My family’s past is full of stories of my family moving from Virginia, north to Harlem, while my husband’s family (on his dad’s side) has a long line of Mormon and European history.

I’ve been thinking about sharing my experiences of discovery on my blog, and writing about ways I learn to teach my kids about their diverse history in age-appropriate ways. But I wasn’t sure if many people would be able to relate.

I posed a random question on Facebook asking if many of my readers were in interracial relationships/marriages and/or had biracial kids, and I got a whopping 175 responses, almost all of which stated they are in interracial relationships with kids.

The few that said they weren’t were so sweet in saying they’d still be interested in reading about it. And let’s face it, —Like my friend who didn’t know about her husband’s background—We all can learn from our past.

When you embrace your heritage you’re not only learning to accept your own differences, but also the differences of others, and in turn it can help us all to be more accepting and give us the ability to remain open-minded to other cultures.

Lil’ J, Big T and I plan to watch the cultural fashion show, and I couldn’t be more excited.

I’m excited to learn for my kids, learn with my kids, and I hope you’ll join me in learning and sharing about your history. Together we’ll be making strong roots for our children.

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  1. I would love to read about your family’s history. I believe that all families have a story to share, and everyone can learn from them.

  2. I love that you’re doing this! I think that it is so important for kids to learn about their heritage and culture. My son is Dominican, French, and Mexican. From the beginning, we have worked to incorporate each culture into our daily lives. 🙂

    1. Thank you Ashlee! I’m with you. I especially think when you have multiple cultures mixed in it could potentially be confusing if they don’t have a strong sense of who they are before their friends or non-friends get involved. Thanks for your comment! 🙂

  3. Since my husband and I are considering children this has become a topic of conversation. I never cared before but after hearing about his experience and feelings I now feel as though I should explore my heritage as well. I’d definitely be interested in reading about your journey plus it could help me find a starting point for my own.

    1. Thanks April! Yea, since having kids it’s definitely been more on the forefront of my mind. Of course as parents we want better for our children, so I guess this is just one of those things.

  4. It’s definitely important to make sure that children know their roots and history. My mom did a great job of teaching us these when we were children. I’m just learning more about my dad’s side of the family as an adult, but it’s been a joy meeting new cousins and getting to hear about that side of my family’s history through funny stories.

  5. I love family history and hearing stories about people’s families! On a related note, I told my husband I wanted to do one of those Ancestry DNA tests on our whole family (since our son was adopted of course) as my Christmas present this year. 🙂 I’m excited to find out through DNA exactly where we all “come from.” I think that can tie in to family stories and give a bigger picture of who we are. I told Zay I wanted to see how much white he had in him, ha ha. And how much black I have in me! He says, “Nope. I’m fresh off the boat.” And I doubt I’m anything other than 99.99% European. But I’m excited to find out, no matter what!

    1. Ooooh I can’t wait to hear what your results are! Do share! You know I wonder about that too… I’ve been looking at my family tree and once you get like 5 generations back it seems like the tree splits a thousand different ways. I don’t see how we can’t all have some of everything up in there.

  6. I love this idea-its so important for your children to know their history biracial or not. Its really good for all families. Every family/ person has a story.

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