Managing Mondays: One Choice

I can’t believe it, seriously? My Grandfather was prejudice? I mean I know he had strong opinions on everything under the sun, but Dad, you have always raised me to treat everyone equal. My dad shrugged his shoulders, “Grandpa Jerry never paid any attention to social class, rich or poor he treated all people the same, but he was very prejudice toward black people and Jews.” he continued “We lived in rural Oregon, and I did not even see my first black person till I got to college, but for whatever reason Grandpa Jerry had some contact with them in sports, and made up his mind they were dirty, no good, and not worthy.”

My dad and I sat at my kitchen table discussing his up bringing and how he became a such a generous and open-minded man. “I like to think I took what he started with his equal social class philosophy and just extended it to all people, it never occurred to me not to” my dad said thoughtfully. What do you think Grandpa Jerry would think about his granddaughter adopting John and Christian? “I don’t know Kari, I’d like to think he would have accepted it and come to peace with it, I just don’t know.”

I looked at this man I have always respected and loved and thought “There but the grace of God go I.” My dad made a decision early in his life, and even though he was influenced by the strong presence of his fathers opinions, he resolved to love and treat all people the same. He married an amazing woman to share his life with, whose heart for the poor, and oppressed imprinted their daughter so much that she, along with her husband, chose to adopt two black children.

I am one generation removed from a man who thought black people were dirty niger’s. My dad made a choice, he extended the best of my grandfathers thinking and did not let the ugly, ignorant, judgmental mind-set of his father continue. I have a bi-racial family because of it. One choice, one step, one person made a difference for generations to come. This I believe was the dream of Martin Luther King Jr. when he said “Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness.” May we raise our children in this truth so that our grandchildren will be that much closer to this dream coming true.


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