Ashley Franklin

To my son, on your 1st day of pre-k

I thought I’d be doing nothing but happy dances when you finally went to school. Boy, was I wrong. It’s the night before your big day, and I’m an emotional disaster. Today lots of people were tweeting #IStandForDiversity in support of diversity in literature. Clearly, there are many who feel differently. How truly ugly the world can be, that’s what I saw today. Someone said she received a death threat. A death threat? For promoting diversity.
Son, I have to be honest with you. I’ve lied to you. I’ve constantly told you that you can do anything. That’s just not true. You can’t make people like you. You can’t make people be your friend. It’s important that I tell you this because you’re Black and your Muslim. I can’t step in to protect you all the time. I realize that more now. It scares me.
I’ve always asked that you be a good boy for mommy. What happens when someone isn’t good to you? I don’t know. I hope that I’ve taught you something that will help you to still be a good person–to not be bitter or rude. I want you to be open to new friends, but more importantly, I want you to know that it’s okay to be you. It’s more than okay, actually. I want you to be proud of who you are. I want you to walk with your head help up high. I want you to know that it’s okay if you don’t look or act like everyone else. I want you to know that that’s perfectly fine. I also want you to know that as free as you are to be yourself, others are free to be who they are. Never make someone feel ashamed for being who they are.
And the most important thing I want you to know is that I love you-every minute of every day. Always know that you are loved.
I want to tell you all of these things. Instead, I’ll just tell you to be kind. Be the kind of friend that you want to have. Oh, and have an awesome first day of pre-k. Mommy loves you.
 
 

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