Monday, January 16, 2012

It Don't Matter If You're Black or White

Two years ago we set out to redo the ugly courtyard in front of our house. It was a horrible eyesore with ragged landscaping, a broken water feature and the worst part: literally THOUSANDS of mismatched landscaping rocks.

Knowing how expensive those rocks are at the store, I decided to get two buckets and separate them one by one, black and white. It was my project as I was the insane person bound and determined to save a buck. My husband JakeRyan made it abundantly clear he was not in on it. I'll show him. 

I grabbed my hardly used work gloves (as if!) and my cushiony-garden-sit-on-thing and began picking. Plunk, plunk, plunk. Five minutes into the project I decided I needed a partner so I called Ryan, a Kindergartner at the time, to help me. 

Heck, the kid was six. There was no reason why he couldn't pull his weight and help with an easy chore. How hard was it to separate some rocks? 

"OK Ryan. You're going to help me in the yard." With this he protested because he was born lazy like his mother. After I told him it wasn't up for discussion I gave him the instructions: Put the black rocks in this bucket and the white ones in that bucket. 

"I can't," he said.

"Um, yes you can," I replied.

"No... I can't."

"Well, I'm telling you right now you're gonna."

"NOOOO... I really can't."

This fun little dialogue went on a few more rounds when finally I responded to one of his "I can'ts" with a "WELL WHY NOT?"


He was noticeably upset at this point. The poor kid had just finished a unit on MLK in school the week before and here was his own mother condoning segregation! Granted, it was rocks and not people, but he took this important lesson very seriously. 

After I gained my composure from laughing so hard and running to tell his father what just transpired, I explained that it wasn't wrong to separate black and white rocks and that what Martin Luther King fought for was only about people. I also told him how proud I was of him for remembering what he learned. 

In hindsight, perhaps what I should have been most proud of is that my 6-year-old son stood up to an authority figure for what he thought was right and didn't relent. That's my boy. 

A few weeks later, while piling into the minivan he annoyingly plopped his butt in his little sister's car seat. I threatened his life if he didn't get out. Unfortunately for him, his Rosa Parks explanation didn't go over well.  "Nice try. This has nothing to do with Rosa Parks. You're just trying to piss off your sister." 


  1. That is too funny. You've got to give him credit for creativity.

  2. Too cute! Good to know that he's paying attention!

  3. Ha ha! Well at least you know he is paying attention at school!

  4. Very impressed he stood up for what he felt was right! So funny though that he tried to use Rosa Parks to nab his sister's seat!

  5. Segragating rocks. That's how it starts, Ali.

  6. First they came for the rocks and I said nothing.

    Pretty proud mama moment there, Ali! :)

  7. He's such to revolutionary.

    And bc I'm too lazy to scroll down and actually comment on 2 separate posts at one sitting, what DO you do, Chandler??

  8. Great story, you will have to store that and tell him when he is older ... Maybe he will be lawyer - he is quite the negotiator already ...

  9. This is hilarious. What a smart little cookie.

    All joking about rocks aside, it's amazing how earlier kids can learn some serious things!

  10. This is hilarious! He took his lessons seriously.

  11. Haha! This was hilarious! At least he's paying attention in school!

  12. That kid is going to be a lawyer some day.