Sunday, August 30, 2015

Seeing People, Seeing In Color

Life is best seen when you see it through many, many colors and we start to teach infants to see things in colors from the day they are born. 

We teach them to see color in art, in nature and in animals as they get older. Black Lives Matter protested peacefully without any incidents in front of the Minnesota State Fair on Saturday. I did not see the protest because I was working at the fair at #mathonastick but I did see the 10 o'clock news when I got home and I did read some Facebook feeds where people said or wrote the most interesting thing: "I don't see color." I have heard people say this before and it has baffled me.

Allow me back track.
I have taught before units on color and I know that color happens when light strikes an object and then the reflection hits our eyes. To see color in art, you have to open your eyes. 

Color As Infants:

Maybe you have seen or even  yourself created a nursery for a soon to be born infant. My guess it is that when you were thinking about it, you were not hoping to make it as boring as possible. When you bought toys for the infant, you did not select ones that were void of colors. No, you picked the bright ones, the bold ones (and maybe the loud ones!).

"Vision, and how the brain uses visual information, are learned skills.From birth, babies begin exploring the wonders in the world with their eyes. Even before they learn to reach and grab with their hands or crawl and sit-up, their eyes are providing information and stimulation important for their development. Although an infant's color vision is not as sensitive as an adult's, it is generally believed that babies have good color vision by five months of age." 

Color In Art:

At some point, students have learned about the color wheel in an art class, if your school still has one. If they don't there are many color wheels to be found at paint stores and fabric stores in the form of samples and swatches.  Maybe you have purchased or you yourself loved the big box of 64 color crayons! Color plays a huge role in art. There are properties that people learn about as they study art such as art has values, intensities and hues.

Color in Nature:
Color is everywhere in nature! Our Great Creator was quite the artist and often, it was done with a sense of humor. From the variety of hues of greens, yellows or purples to the sunrise and sunset, color is everywhere. You can even look at the Animal Kingdom and see so many colors that make that animal special and unique

Color in People: 

If this is all so, if color is in us since infancy and we study it in art and find it in nature, why do people tell others that they don't see color when it comes to racial backgrounds? Why do people say, "I am teaching my kids not to see color."

I think that when we do that we are undoing all the blessings of beauty that color brings us and it reduces us to live in a type of Giver utopian society of dullness.  Living a life in living color allows us to see differences and allows those differences to create a beautiful world and even make us beautiful.
I love this quote from Kids R Kids: "Children have a universal language of love, laughter, and acceptance. It doesn’t matter what culture they represent, the common denomination in the heart of a child is the desire to enjoy a loving, nurturing and supportive environment. As long as children are having fun and being treated kindly, the difference in appearance is not important to them."

Even by a very young age, children notice racial differences and then I think what happens is that well meaning parents say...if you say you notice it, then you may be labeled a racist or something, so shhh! Don't say a thing! In doing that, you have told them that seeing color is wrong. Colors are wrong.

So, what can we do instead? We can celebrate the colors. Celebrate the differences because those differences are there to help us be a better society. We can start by taking just a few steps. It is a hard one and a brave one.

First, seek to understand then be understood (Steven Covey,). Taking the time to understand others, their holidays, their struggle in society, to talk with them about hopes and dreams and to do life big along side of them is where we can be game changers is world.

In Mr. Covey's book he has Be Proactive as the first step. I think when it comes to the issue of colors and race, we can do this by stepping out and realizing that the power is within us to "Be the change" as Gandhi said.

Begin with the end in mind: If you want your children to live in a colorful world, then involve your family in opportunities that take them out of their own cul-de-sac and in to places where other cultures are alive and thriving. Eat food from different countries and cultures and learn about those cultures at home around the dinner table. Pray for missionaries and others serving in other countries and learn about the people groups they are serving.  Success for seeing a world full of colors first starts at home.

Think Win Win: Practicing life by making valuable deposits in other people's life such as serving along side of them and truly wanting the best for them because the best for you lies within first wanting the best in others. If they hurt, you hurt too.

Synergize: Knowing that people can disagree and that no one person is right is a break through as we learn to see colors in races.
The habit of putting first things first is so alive in us when we put people first. For example, I love my church's motto: Love God, Love People and Serve the World. When we can truly see other people first, not ourselves I think we have put down our foot and said...NO, not my family, not I myself...not my home we will not live in colorless world, but acknowledge that color is out there and embrace it all with joy!

Finally when time is taken to sharpen the saw, we can find renewal. We can't teach or preach something that we do not ourselves understand or believe in. The more we know, the more our saw is sharpened and the better we are equipped to serve other.

Black lives matter. All lives matter. Let's go back to living in a world of beautiful colors! Let's go back to living in a world were race and the colors of our skin do not separate us, but draw us together as we learn with and from one another. My family comes in many colors of black, white and brown. I am complete when I know that and celebrate that!

Seeing in color is really in the end, all about LOVE!