How do you explain Black History month to a six year old? Each day you picked up your granddaughter from school during February, she repeatedly asked you if it was still Black History month. You did not give her inquiries much thought in the beginning. You simply answered her question with a polite yes and rushed her out of the school building to your car.
When you picked up your granddaughter last Friday, she asked the same question. However, you stopped for a moment as she pointed to a photo of a woman on a large Black History poster in the school’s main lobby. She informed you that the woman invented the straightening comb. Why is that so relevant to your granddaughter? You always agreed with Erykah Badu, that you are not your hair. But the significance of your granddaughter’s obsession with Black History month was beginning to take on new meaning. The people on the poster were now part of her reality. Her teacher had done a good job of bringing these black men and women and their contributions to life.
You could not wait to share this matter with your best friend. She agreed it was interesting that your granddaughter was really into Black History month. She suggested that you continue playing the role of the listener. If your granddaughter had more questions, be prepared to answer them laconically. Her little mind was grasping things from a perspective that you might not understand. Her questions would reveal how you should respond.
Finally, you conclude Black History Month is a sign post to recognize and acknowledge the contributions of Black Americans during the initial stages of this country’s early struggles for survival. Black Americans were among the many unsung heroes whose contributions allowed this North American continent to become the great nation it is today. Their struggles and sacrifices have a dark side to them. You personally feel empowered by their creativity, strength and will to survive amidst some unspeakable adversities. You will not make this the main focus for your granddaughter. She will mature and grasp the big picture. Your mission now is to help her understand that she is also someone special in this big wonderful world. Your desire is for her to awaken to her true essence and position herself to leave a legacy of peace, love and useful contributions for the whole of humanity.