Years ago I met a woman with the most beautiful eyes, her name is Camille. I ended up marrying her. The best thing that ever happened to me. Well, recently she posted something on Facebook. I was going Camille, that’s good stuff. You ought to come to Jessop’s Journal and talk about it. She said something, and I’m not sure, maybe Ed can confirm this. Apparently, my wife says, not everyone wants to be on TV. Of course, they do, right?
With her permission, I’m going to tell her story on camera. I also some personal experiences and observations that you’ll just have to watch the video to see.
To be on the safe side of getting her story right, here is Camille’s Facebook post verbatim:
“Back in the early 1980’s I was finishing up my college education. I was doing my “practicum”. I was one of the teachers of an early childhood education class. The class consisted of children, ages 3-5, of students at the university. These students were from all around the world. It was a wonderful experience to get to know these beautiful, innocent children. Their parents were from the United States, China, Korea, Japan, and many African nations. I was a newlywed living in on-campus housing. In our same housing complex was one of the little 3-year-old boys from our preschool. He soon discovered that we were neighbors and he would bring his 2-year-old sister to say “hi”. He was very shy, maybe because he was just learning English. He and his little sister were so sweet and absolutely adorable. I loved talking with them, or rather, I talked, and they smiled! I believe they were from Ethiopia. (I wish I remembered for sure). It was a fun experience working with all these children.
The children all played well together aside from the usual disagreements about who had what toy first and learning to share. Two little girls became best friends and wanted to sit by each other during circle time and snack time. They got along famously!
Nawatchee and Ashley (names changed) were from two different areas of the world. They loved to run and play together, and make things, hear stories together, and were the best of friends.
Then, after a long weekend everything changed. When we gathered for circle time Nawatchee hurried to sit by Ashley. Ashley stood up and announced she could no longer sit by Nawatchee and they were no longer friends. Nawatchee’s beautiful, sweet face crumbled into a sad, hurt, and confused expression. I’ll never forget that. My heart hurt. I said something like “we’re all friends here” but Ashley went on to say that she could no longer be friends or play with Nawatchee because her mom told her not to. Nawatchee was black.
Wow. These children did not even care what color any of them were. They were kids learning and playing and having fun, and then teachings of exclusion, bigotry, and hate were introduced by parents. Wow. The next time I met with my head teacher to discuss how things were going, I brought this up. I told her how shocking and upsetting it was to see parents doing that to children! But then this head teacher who I had looked up to and admired shocked me even more! She was visibly not happy with my reaction and told me that parents have the right to teach children their own beliefs. Parents absolutely should teach their children. But this?
I learned a lesson that summer. We still have a long way to go in treating each of our brothers and sisters kindly. Let’s be kind. We are all on this earth together. Innocent children get along until taught differently. Let’s be like innocent children.”
It was wrong then. It’s wrong now.
I don’t care if you are rich. I don’t care if you are poor. I don’t care what color of skin you. I don’t care what sexual orientation you have. I don’t care what religion you are or aren’t. The reality is that we have to get off this merry-go-round of hate. I don’t care if you are far left. I don’t care if you are far right. It doesn’t matter. The reality is just because someone disagrees with you doesn’t mean they are wrong. What do you think?
Jessop’s Journal is something special when it comes to broadcast news. I have the honor of being able to do longer in-depth interviews that you don’t normally see with people from all walks of life.
I strongly feel that “stories have power”. Chances are that if you are going through something, that someone else probably has as well. The shared experiences we humans have can help each other. That my friend makes the point that stories “help us understand each other.”
You don’t have to agree with everyone, but in my opinion, if people would take more time getting to knowing more about others and where they are coming from, we just might find out that we have more similarities than differences.