Only Their Eyes Be Opened

By Megan

Like an unchecked cancer, hate corrodes the personality and eats away its vital unity. Hate destroys a man’s sense of values and his objectivity. It causes him to describe the beautiful as ugly and the ugly as beautiful, and to confuse the true with the false and the false with the true. — Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

He had a way of putting things into words that described a HUGE, universal, hideously human problem in a direct, succinct way. He was a true leader, and his life and works left beautiful, resolute, positive fingerprints on our world and paved the way for my husband’s success, for our marriage, and for our children’s confident, carefree inclusion in society. I am grateful to him and those who sacrificed alongside him. So grateful.


My daughter knows who he is. He’s Marfin Lufer King, and according to her, and he is “The best King ever.” But what she doesn’t know … the real, deep, deadly problems that aroused his Dream, the hatred and pain and suffering that he fought to end … leaves me feeling haunted. How can I tell her that in her grandparents’ lifetime people were readily excluded, hated, killed for having skin the color of her father’s skin? That flesh tone was not-so-long-ago a societally-sanctioned determiner of who had and who had not and who was considered intelligent and capable and worthy and who was not? And that half of her is what wasn’t? I ache inside already at what my children will feel when they really understand that, how they’ll assimilate the knowledge and what it will do to them.

I tiptoe around it. When I hear her chatter light-heartedly about him I think she should know — I should tell her the whole truth — but then again I ache to protect her simple definitions. I’m glad she knows his face when she sees images and references to him. I’m glad she only wonders “where’s his crown?”

But I’m already preparing for the days we’ll tell our children more about him and what happened to him, and an important layer of their innocence will be stripped away. I pray it makes them stronger and more resolute in the values we’re teaching them. I pray that only their eyes will be opened to hatred’s ugliness and confusion, and not their hearts.

Megan blogs much more light-heartedly at FriedOkra.

7 Responses to Only Their Eyes Be Opened
  1. Kelly
    January 18, 2010 | 7:28 pm

    I just started explaining racism to my daughter. She’s 8. I know she’s heard about it before, but the older she gets, the more the evilness of it sticks out to her.

    I know it’s horrible, and yes, it strips away her innocence. But at the same time, that innocence allows her to see it for what it is.

  2. Megan
    January 18, 2010 | 11:16 pm

    Dacey and I had an interesting conversation about Dr. King last night. She has quite a few friends whose skin looks different from hers, and we had a good talk about how people are who they are because of what is on the inside. Or something like that.

    I can only imagine the gravity days like today hold for you. I am fully confident that you and your husband will be able to have many meaningful conversations about this as the kids get older.

    Thanks for sharing your heart today, mama.

  3. Nancy
    January 18, 2010 | 11:31 pm

    Just last week, one of my sons asked me what the Holocaust was. I distinctly remember learning what it was in school, and wishing I could un-learn it. I also wonder what we will tell our daughter, who was born in a country where girls are not preferred and female infanticide is still practiced in some areas.

    I’m determined that my kids will hear about those things from my husband and me, so we can have good talks and care for their souls. I think that’s the most important thing — our kids knowing that even though bad things happen in the world, that there are good parents, good people who fight, and a good God who cares deeply about injustice.

  4. melissa aka equidae
    January 19, 2010 | 2:24 pm

    how many things we have to think of for our children…sometimes the responsibilty feels too much and yet i wonder…..its just us who fear so much?

  5. ~love
    January 24, 2010 | 3:09 pm

    we did this page and talked of him last week, too. and i felt just what you’ve beautifully described here. (except that it will be about their brother’s skin instead of their dad’s.) i am praying the same.
    thanks for this.

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