Lessons in Bravery from Two Six Year Olds: Ruby Bridges and My Daughter

On Friday, my daughter’s teacher posted pictures on Class Dojo about what the class is doing in preparation for Black History Month. My eye was immediately drawn to the picture of my six year old and a few of her classmates holding up their papers with the title: I am brave like Ruby Bridges. (Their faces have smiley faces since I did not time to ask permission to post the picture)

What really struck a chord with me is that my daughter, while she’s brave in many ways, doesn’t have the same struggle as Ruby Bridges did as the first African American to integrate an elementary school in the south. According to womenshistory.org, “She walked past crowds screaming vicious slurs at her.” The article goes on to say, “Ruby ate lunch alone and sometimes played with her teacher at recess, but she never missed a day of school that year.” I couldn’t imagine my sweet girl or any child having to endure that level of hatred just based in the color of their skin.

Though times have changed and people’s thoughts have evolved in positive ways, I know racism and discrimination does still exist 60 years later. However, I’m so grateful that my little girl attends a diverse school where she interacts and plays with children of different races, ethnicities, religions, you name it and considers all of her classmates to be her friends.

Sometimes, I’m hesitant to share certain details about our history as African Americans with my daughter because of the tragedies and injustices we’ve endured. So it’s wonderful that she has a teacher who was thoughtful and brave enough to share the story of Ruby Bridges, a child who was just like Quinn and her classmates: six years old, eager to learn and excited about school. 

Let’s all continue to acknowledge the past and how far we’ve all come so that we all may have a positive future, especially  for our children.

All the best,

Tanya

Sesame Place Revealed How Brave My Niece and Daughter Can Be

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Quinn and her cousin Mackenzie in line to get on Sky Splash at Sesame Place

It was a sunny day sweeping the clouds away. We were on our way to ride the Sky Splash at Sesame Place. It was my eight year old niece and two year old daughter’s first time getting on this ride, and they enjoyed it so much that they wanted to get on a second time. After patiently waiting in line again this past Wednesday, August 18, it was our turn to get on the ride. My little girl, who made the height requirement for the ride by a smidgen, eagerly helped me to put on her life vest then told both me and my niece, “We hold on tight!” (I was impressed that she remembered what to do). We smiled as the life guard pushed our raft to help it propel down the slide, but within a matter of seconds we came to an unanticipated halt; something major went wrong. The expressions on the faces of the workers along the slide check points revealed that they were nervous and concerned but had no idea what was going on. About five minutes later, the nearest lifeguard yelled out that the water jets were not pumping out to push the raft down the slide because they had lost power. This ride, in particular, has a series of huge slides and is up high in the air, so we were stuck.

What truly impressed me was how well both my niece and daughter handled this ordeal. We even joked about how at least were not stuck on a roller coaster. Without me asking, my niece started singing the alphabet song with Quinn, probably so that she would not be nervous. Actually, both Mackenzie and Quinn were not only patient but calm and did such a wonderful job following directions. Initially, two life guards attempted to push and guide our raft to safety down the slide, but it would barely budge and was high risk. After being stationary for about fifteen minutes with several onlookers watching us from below, we were informed that the entire park had lost electricity, and they were uncertain when it would be restored since an occurrence like this rarely occurs. Then, about ten minutes later, a gentleman came walking down the slide. He was very apologetic about the incident and informed us that he would be guiding us up the slide and back to safety. I tightly held on to Quinn as we climbed up the slippery slide being careful not to fall or lose my balance as Mackenzie held the hand of our guide. No one cried, indicated that they were scared or complained about the inconvenience of the ride not working. My niece and daughter were so brave. I am amazed at how mature the both of them are becoming and so grateful that we all made it off of the slide without incident.  Though the power was off for approximately two hours, my niece and daughter both went the flow, and we still managed to have a nice and sunny day at Sesame Place.

All the best,

Tanya

P.S. We plan on going back tomorrow so that we can have our last summer hurrah before it’s time to go back to school and work. Wish us luck that everything is operational and that we have an even better time.