It seems like just yesterday that we were ushering in the new year. Now it’s February and just a few days shy of my 40th birthday. It’s funny, being middle-aged doesn’t seem as old as it did when I was a kid. I’m looking forward to celebrating the years God has given and the ones that are to come. In the meantime, here are a few things I’m checking out this month…
1. Black History Month
I’ve always been and am continuously fascinated and intrigued by our black culture and heritage. The stories of triumph in the midst of adversity are awe-inspiring, while the threads of injustice and discrimination weaving their way throughout our history are heartbreaking and frustrating. While I can’t say that I understand God’s plans for difficult periods such as slavery and Jim Crow, I do know that this month is a wonderful opportunity to, as author Alice Walker says, “double down on our efforts to learn who we as Americans actually are, shorn of the myths too many have spun about us.” A few links to get you started:
- You did know the Smithsonian is opening a National Museum for African American History and Culture on the National Mall later this year, right?
- The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture is on my short list of places I want to visit in New York City; until then, their website is a treasure trove of intriguing snippets of black history.
- New York Times’ Unpublished Black History – The narrative that gets told about black people is as much about what gets said in the media as what doesn’t get said. The New York Times confronts this bias of omission in a great way this year. As the Times national desk deputy editor for digital Damien Cave puts it, “…this was a way to explore not just the stories we publish but also the process, and how things are published and when things aren’t, what gets left on the cutting room floor.”
- Who knew you could find and hear iconic speeches like Martin Luther King’s I Have a Dream speech on Spotify.
2. What’s Happening in Michigan
On the about page for this blog, I describe next level mamas as different, inspired and happy. What I’m now learning in various contexts is that next level mamas also live in the land of uncomfortable. They charge right into uncomfortable conversations and experiences, travel to uncomfortable places and take on uncomfortable goals in pursuit of the best for their families, their communities and themselves. You can’t get to the place this mom did about the Detroit school crisis without some uncomfortableness.
“If our kids’ classrooms looked like theirs—we’d be up in arms. We need to be up in arms, then. Because OUR kids’ classrooms DO look like this. The Detroit kids ARE our kids. There is no such thing as other people’s children.” – Glennon @ momastery.com
3. Human Trafficking…in the U.S. of A.
Speaking of uncomfortable, when I think about human trafficking, I usually think of it in terms of their problem. Their meaning impoverished countries like Malysia and Cambodia…poor people…uneducated people. Not our problem here in the great land of opportunity known as the United States. And certainly not our problem as Christian parents. I suppose I shouldn’t be too surprised given our Country’s track record (see #1 above), however, hearing that “100,000 children are bought, sold, and rented in the U.S. every year” is SICKENING. I’m not sure yet how to plug in, but these two Focus on the Family podcasts make me want to do something. They gave me insight into how a young child could be sucked into the sex trade and why our society is generally quiet on the issue.
Well, it’s about dang time Barbie. It only took you nearly 60 years to bring some serious color and body type diversity to your dolls, but we mamas, daughters and sisters all over the world are happy you’re finally getting there. With the addition of 4 body types, 7 skin tones, 22 eye colors and 24 hairstyles, #TheDollEvolves efforts might let me forget (at least for a few minutes) that time I went to my local Target and found not one brown or black Barbie doll on the shelves.
Those are just a few of the things on my radar. What’s on yours this month?