A story flashes across my screen. Philando Castile. Charleena Lyles.
“Not your kids,” a voice says from somewhere inside.
It’s the voice of relief, a promise really, “not your kids.”
June is Pride Month, so there’s an array of rainbow everything on that same screen.
Pictures of happy couples, of families with moms or dads, of chestfeeding and breastfeeding, of pronoun etiquette and label etiquette. Amid those happy pictures, happy shares of stories, there are stories of rejection intermingled.
“Not your kids,” says the same voice from deep inside. I rest assured that my LGBTQ+ kids know they’re safe at church, if nowhere else.
I know the hijabs the little girls wear set them apart from their friends and neighbors. I know the color of their skin does, too. Their families are from Pakistan. I cannot imagine what many of them have been through in their lives. These Muslim children joyfully welcome their Christian neighbors, snuggling up to the adults who are more familiar. I wonder how often they are not safe outside these walls.
“Not your kids,” comes the same voice.
This is the echo of privilege. The fears that accompany so many people do not accompany my kids—the ones from my church, the ones of my own I may have some day.
Children seem to be the great equalizer among people. Children are easier to play with and easier to talk to. They seem to more easily embrace any adult willing to play with them. They worry less about language barriers. My Spanish is even perfect for hanging out with preschool kids, where I can quiz them on colors and shapes.
I remember a plea made in my own denomination that stopped some of the fighting about LGBTQ+ welcome: our kids are dying.
Even the naysayers realized that’s the worst sort of pain.
The voice comes often, “Not your kids.”
If it’s not your kids, it’s easy to forget the sort of desperation that comes with it is your kids. It’s the kind of desperation that dragged Jairus from his home to find a man he’d only heard about. It’s the kind of desperation that made him pull Jesus along with him through the city streets, to a house where mourning had already begun. It’s the desperation that will do anything to save a child’s life.
“Not your kids,” will echo, again. Our privilege will remind us of the fears we don’t have for our children. I wonder, can we learn the answer, “But they’re somebody’s kids”?