How to Be a Dad

How to Be a Dad

Everyone Is Born Blind

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Skin colored crayons

I always noticed that when my sons first started out coloring, whether it was their own mutated blobs, coloring books or plain ol’ restaurant place mats, they’d always use the wackiest shades to color in things and people.

What they laid to page was as random as the course taken by a drop of water. And just as innocent.

Everyone is born beautifully blind. Blind to color. So, when you put a crayon in the hands of a child, you can see something wonderful happen. They’re so starkly free of any prejudice it may be really difficult to even tell the difference between a person and a tree.

There used to be a crayon color called “flesh.” It was pinkish. In ’62 it was changed to “peach” because of civil rights and because of DUH! We live in different times now.

Recently, my wife went out with our littlest, Lucas, to deposit all our money at the Bank of Whole Foods. In the elevator, my son yanked gently on his mommy’s hand and whispered…
 

“Wook. It’s Daddy.”

 

He was referring to a dark-skinned black man with thick black glasses and a beard. She was so tickled and amused, she couldn’t wait to relay the story. Now, while I’ll admit I was a little miffed that I can be reduced by my son to these two easily removed features (facial hair and eyewear), I was overtaken with pride and love that he was so beautifully color blind to race.

crayon-drawing
It’s possible he’s also got a thing for zombies.

I’m not constantly consumed with misgivings about whether I’m a good or bad parent as much as I was when I first started out. Moments like these though, seem to indicate I’m at least not totally terrible at it. Much. Probably. Maybe.

At least I’ve done something right if my kids only look at another kid sideways because of the superhero on their shirt rather than the color of their skin.

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14 Comments

14 Responses to “Everyone Is Born Blind”

  1. Laurie says:

    Not terrible at it at all…wow!

  2. Dads Make says:

    My son did the same thing with Samuel L Jackson on a magazine cover. My head is still shrinking, mother &$+%$#!

  3. Kids are awesome. Props to Ma and Pa Herald as well. Raise’em right.

  4. I love how kids see the world. Picasso once said that it took him years to learn like The Masters but a lifetime to learn how to paint like a child. That’s how you know you are raising your kids right.

  5. Mimi says:

    This was great!
    On a related-ish note: my husband travels almost every week for work, so I’m with the kids by myself more often than not. I was always a little embarrassed when my older son would call random men “daddy” in public, or ask if “that’s daddy”… I always told him, loud enough for others to hear, that “no, that’s not daddy. Daddy is working in {insert random place}, silly boy!” Like, “Yes, General Public, we know my babies’ daddy and I’m married to him.” Awkward.
    Uh… that was a long story… Sorry.

    • Dads Make says:

      I feel ya. The same thing happens to my wife. The most hilarious was a brief phase after learning that “Dad goes to work so we can have a house and food” where he would tell everyone he was going to “daddy’s house to eat daddy’s food.” while my wife would try to explain to everyone that we were not a broken home.

  6. Mama Kim says:

    My daughter is part Puerto Rican, but she looks about as white as I am. She wouldn’t know that, though. We JUST got a flatscreen tv, but before that we had something from the 70s or other with a glass screen on a dark surface. Since she could walk, she has been dancing in front of that screen to watch her reflection. Well, one day Doc McStuffins comes on, and my daughter gleefully points to the little girl playing doctor and exclaims, “Look mommy, she’s brown like me!” Of course you can imagine my reaction: “huh?” Turns out by seeing her reflection on the dark TV screen, she had gotten to thinking she had brown skin like the people she saw every day at the store or wherever. I didn’t correct her (she’ll find out soon enough anyway), and to this day she occasionally makes a comment (despite admiring herself daily in an actual mirror) pertaining that she has brown skin. I guess that is how she chooses to identify herself right now(Princess Tiana hero worship? Wanting to be like her African American BFFs? Who knows?)and I won’t discourage her. I’ve never taught her the difference between races, and she saw the differences herself -and totally accepts them as the usual bit of life she can imitate as much as anything else.

  7. Mama Kim says:

    And yeah, my daughter has called men of different races “daddy” too when my husband was deployed and she saw anyone at the store wearing an army uniform.

  8. Absolutely agree! Way to go :)

  9. Brent Almond says:

    My son (who is about your son’s age, methinks) still has yet to describe a friend by their skin color. I’ve asked “Which friend is that?” and he’ll reply, “The one who like Hulk.” Doesn’t really help me figure out who he’s talking about, but I don’t really mind either. :)

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