3 lessons parents can learn from the story of the 9 year old first crayon activist

On a recent morning when a first-grader asked her why her hair was “so crazy,” Bellen considered her large Afro, which has been both a source of compliments and teasing in her life. She then told the girl, “Maybe God wanted it to match my personality, because I’m all over the place.” – Washington Post

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You know the moments where you don’t achieve much during the day but all the same you still feel tired and definitely not in the mood to do anything? Even dragging yourself to the kitchen to get something to eat becomes a chore. Thinking of content for your online side hustle becomes an additional mental drain. Sounds familiar right?, it was a day like this I found myself lying lazily in the hall and randomly flicking through the TV channels.

Bellen and Tosha Woodard (daughter and mother) Image credit: MSN

Thankfully I came across an episode of the Kelly Clarkson show where Bellen Woodard and her mother were being interviewed. You can read more about her “More than Peach” project here. By the way, I am so in love with the mother and daughter all natural look. 🙂

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I put myself in her mother’s shoes and instantly felt proud of her. My little 9-year old breaking barriers and leading a trail than I did at that age. What got me further intrigued was not the fact that she was 9 years old but how a simple school activity got her thinking. A simple colouring project at school where all her friends unintentionally referred to the peach colour as the skin-coloured crayon. She felt the representation of the peach coloured crayon as the skin colour was not a full representation of the different skin colours in the world. She was the only black kid in her class so that was a big deal.

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Powerful and deep quote boldly displayed on her website. (Image credit:
Meet Bellen – Bellen’s More Than Peach™ Project
www.morethanpeach.com
)

I love the fact that she stood up for change rather than adapt to the status quo. Let me jump ahead of myself here and point out this fact; we have to learn to teach our kids to stand up for themselves and not always take them out of situations in the name of protecting them. Like a mother hen, my first instinct is to come running to their defense but I know with time I will improve because my desire is to raise kids who are resilient and strong in their own unique way not the way society expects of them. I will talk about my childhood and shy nature in another post. 🙂

“We worry about what a child will become tomorrow, yet we forget that he is someone today.”

~ Stacia Tauscher

Ordinarily as a parent, your first response when your child comes home asking these questions especially on a tiring day would be to simply say, “Dear use the brown or black crayons. These are how crayons have been made in the past.” I think during the interview her mother had a similar response but I can’t recall but this 9 year old was determined to have the different shades of black people represented in crayons and colouring pencils so that she and other kids would not have to be confused or encounter difficulties when explaining what their colour is to their peers.

How adorable is this! Image credit: Time for Kids

She didn’t give up. She succeeded in ending the era of, “pass me the skin-coloured crayon” which was initially peach to having different representions of the skin colour. All one has to do is say what skin colour they want and get the real colour to reflect who they are. She also used her savings to distribute these crayons with note pads and notes from herself to less endowed communities. You should see me grinning proudly like she was my daughter. 🙂

“Teaching is not about answering questions but about raising questions – opening doors for them in places that they could not imagine.”

~ Yawar Baig

This inspirational story taught me 3 lessons as a parent I would share with you:

  1. Don’t be quick to dismiss your child’s ideas

There are kids whose energy can fuel the whole of Ghana. Don’t say I have to tame this child. Try experimenting different things with them and help them channel their energy there. You might be the next manager of your child and retire early o (I keep telling my husband and he always shakes his head…lol). In case you are at a loss at where to get this inspiration, check out Getpaged, a creative page run by a Ghanaian mother who is focused on using everyday activities to create fun and sensory play for kids.

The more risks you allow your children to make, the better they learn to look after themselves.”

~ Roald Dahl

2. Don’t feel like you are the bombarded guest on the Talking point show (only 80’s babies will understand this)

(GTV Talking point musical interlude plays)……………………

There are days my daughter keeps asking me multiple questions and on days where I need a clear head to think I end up asking her why she asks sooooooooo many questions. It doesn’t perturb her though (she will say, “mommy let me say it, just a little”) and sometimes when my sense comes back..lol.. I give her the room to ask ALLLLLLLL the questions for myself and google to answer. Some of them I genuinely tell her I don’t know and I will proceed to google it or better yet watch a youtube video to explain it. Most often I end up learning something new. I have been asked, “How does flatulence (both of them say flat) happen?” “Why do insects have yellow blood?” “Where did corona virus come from and when would it go?” Trust me when you make some time for these you might be peeking their interest and like I famously say, “Who knows?”

In this modern world where activity is stressed to the point of mania, quietness as a childhood need is too often overlooked.”

~ Margaret Wise Brown

3. The little conversations can be the beginning of the BIG breakthroughs

I am happy to notice that most parents I have had the opportunity to engage with treat and interact with their kids as young adults. Compared to back then when kids where instructed and told what to do rather than walked through the reason for taking certain actions. Just imagine how a simple conversation on the colour of a crayon resulted in a positive and massive impact globally for a 9 year old.

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Now when I see my daughter with a camera, “Oya! keep on my girl, you just might be the youngest photographer” or your mother’s ticket to early retirement (I have to be real wai..lol). This inspiring post is to remind you not to give up but to enjoy every little conversation you have with your kids, they just might be the start of a new adventure if not now but at a later stage in their life.

Hope you were inspired. Don’t forget to share this post to spread the positive message.

ginta-regular
meybi-regular

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