by Diane Miller
My primary identity in this season of life is Ccd Mama (what’s a Ccd mama). God has given our family a vision to both seek & model justice in a very blended urban neighborhood. We believe, quite simply, if resourced folks choose to live different, not choosing to live in stacked wealth neighborhoods, it will start a movement to break down stacked poverty. In the next few posts, I’ll be sharing stories from our journey…
So, we committed to raise our daughter in blended community and go to neighborhood public schools. With that, she spent 7 years at dual-immersion Spanish/English programs in Title 1 schools where 60% of the children lived below the poverty level. We wanted to give her the gift of being bilingual and learn how to befriend others not exactly like her. We hoped this also would prepare her for our now globalized world. As a family committed to Jesus, we knew we could no longer choose to live in a “safe” bubble with resourced people just like us. Quite simply, those bubbles do not prepare kids or adults in navigating & honoring all culture groups with how life plays out now.
My biggest glimmer of hopeful results with our choice came at the end of the past school year. Our gal finished her freshman course in an inner city high school. While we were debriefing about the year, she told me that her black friends call her an inside-out oreo; and, she also knows where to get the best weave in town. Okay, just saying, she is obviously engaging & asking questions of her black gal pals at school. Many white girls don’t even know what a hair weave is. Another of my Ccd Mama rewards is that she sasses me and the family dog in fluent Spanish. Confirmed!… she is somewhat bilingual (though, as a teen, she chooses not to use her Spanish in public with her parents). These 2 treasure nuggets give me hope that she will now be somewhat more prepared to engage with others not like her on her walk of following Jesus.
Then, our family recently attended a concert and heard some amazing hip hop & spoken word artists from Chicago. We listened to deep messages about growing up black in our city. Afterwards, we had an interesting car chat with our daughter. I also got more teen sass, which has become pretty normal in this season. She said, “Mom you were laughing too loud (I was chuckling at a pastor’s comment – he was funny & others were laughing). Don’t you know that when you are the white minority in a group, you have to be quiet & work to fit in.” … hmm… Lots to ponder. I am thankful that she’s learned some amazing life skills by attending neighborhood public schools and not living in homogeneous white resourced neighborhoods.
Our choices have not always been easy or comfortable. It takes grit to persevere many days in doing life with others not of your ethnicity or socio-economic status. As well, there have been times when I have felt like I’ve sacrificed my child to the wolves. She has been bullied more than once by some incredibly tough inner city kids. And, many school community experiences have not worked out the way we had hoped. I will share disappointments in an upcoming story. But, the bigger point is that we have worked through our challenges and our daughter is a better, well-rounded kid because of it. She can discern situations where trouble is brewing. She is sensitive & defensive to bullying of kids… and, she is even suspect of unjust scenarios with adults. You don’t get those skills by living in a protective safe homogenous community bubble!
This is some of the good I have to report on this journey in our very blended urban world. I do believe that both the character & community development skills learned with making this choice will be invaluable for our daughter in continuing on her life journey… It has been invaluable to me, the Mama.