For the record…

When the kindergarten teacher met with me, after screening Sam, she described him as “patient and sweet”.

Reminder to self; how I see Sam in the world and how the world sees Sam will rarely be the same. Sweet as all the syrup he likes to flood the pancakes in-yes. But patient? That word would not fall under the top fifty adjectives I would use to describe him.

When the teacher had to take a call in the middle of the screening Sam; “waited very patiently,” for the screening to resume. She then continued on about his astute curiosity, and gentle confidence.

Reminder to self; Sam is all this and more. What he saves for me at home, is not what the world sees. How far back in my own adolescence do I have to dig to be reminded of that?

Alone with me later (while my sweet and patient child was apparently helping another child who was afraid to wait for his mommy at the snack, crayon and paper area) the teacher then asked me to describe him.

“Big in every way, ” I said.  “His ability, his energy, his desires, his intellect, his capability, his leadership potential, his charm and his need to move. All of these things are very big.”

She smiled, took a few notes, and then repeated; “and very sweet.” Her need to remind me was noted, but I think she just sensed that she had just met a remarkable boy, and wanted him in her class for sure.

Sam is the ready one here. Now, I have to learn to just shut my mouth, and let Sam do the talking.


On a much less encouraging note about how black boys’ behavior can be framed (my post was not about racial framing of course, but about parental perception) with an incredibly different lens than their white counterparts, please see this recent post at Love Isn’t Enough on framing deviance. I haven’t watched the videos, don’t think I can stomach them, but the commentary was enough for me to pass this along.


  1. I didn’t watch the videos in the Love isn’t Enough piece, but that posting was enough to break my heart. The contrast between your story of how your son’s cooperative behaviour was “framed” by his kindergarten teacher, and what she thought it said about his personality, and the way poor Latarian was treated by the system after he took his parents’ car for a joy ride was striking. Not everyone sees black boys and men as inherently dangerous, thank God, and the way that their parents react to, and interpret, any misbehaviour, from the innocuous to the illegal, can go a long way toward helping their sons to moderate the negative messages they will inevitably receive from some authority figures, strangers and other people who don’t know them well, and the media.

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