As I suspect many parents are doing this Season, 90% of our day includes company on what would normally be alone time. So what happened this weekend on a 'simple' bike ride has opened my eyes to who makes the best critical thinkers. My story begins at the 7 mile marker moments before the intellectual bomb was dropped; 'Dad, can I ask you question?'.
Under 'Safer At Home' orders, one should expect very little privacy while conducting personal or professional business. Almost all of our phone calls begin with some sort of inquiry into the health, wellness, and safety of the person with whom we are speaking. Similarly, a majority of the uplifting messages on social media (on my screen) involve some sort of religious offering of Blessings and Faith. The news outlets display never ending loops of deserted streets, packed parks, empty store shelves, and densely populated protests. It hadn't dawned on me that dedicated 'What Is Your Understanding Of What You're Seeing and Hearing?' time has become a necessary new normal with my children. Needless to say it is now a new class in my home school curriculum.
From the very beginning I should have known this routine weekend workout with my son would a trip for the ages. Before even finding a rhythm, the first question dropped; Dad, is hunting considered an essential activity? My immediate response was no of course, but it evolved from there. Dad, what does essential mean? Dad, who decided who's essential and who's not? Dad, why do they only show hospital workers on TV, aren't the people who go into people's homes and take care of the disabled and elderly essential too? Dad, isn't that large group of hunters over there in the driveway breaking the rules?
Then the mother of all questions; DAD, WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BEING BLESSED AND BEING PRIVILEGED? (I actually have this recorded while logging our ride. Feel free to visit my Kelly Leadership Group Facebook Business Page for my raw reaction; spoiler alert, the question caught me so off guard and hit me so deep that I dropped my phone and almost fell off my bike!). We would spend the next 5 miles in a DEEP discussion of what his understanding is of those two terms and mine. He made honest inquiry on which it is people are flexing on the news and social media and why are all privileged and blessed uniquely but never equally. I can't quite recall the last time I was at a loss for words for that long a period of time.
When I was growing up, mama taught me the phrase 'it takes one to know one', and that I should remember than when people labeled me with love or malice in their heart. For two days I've been stressing my brain on the violent lesson on critical thinking as taught by child. Just the day before I sent my son a picture of me confused on an errand I was running on his behalf. Perhaps the look on my face was a foreshadow of confusion for what was to come. I earned too much money to be on the lookout for a stimulus check (Blessed or Privileged?). I went shopping wearing a sweatshirt from a University in Europe that I was humbled to be invited to facilitate a Critical Thinking discussion with people from over 30 different countries (Blessed or Privileged?). My shopping trip was not in a grocery store but in a wood yard purchasing an overpriced wood beam for my son to practice his scooter tricks (Blessed or Privileged?), surrounded by people spending unfathomable amounts of money on materials for home projects because 'may as well do it now since I have the time' (Blessed or Privileged?). How did this Black kid from the beautifully distressed streets of Detroit be put in a position to actually contribute to the confusion of humanity and civility in a pandemic?
The truth is that I've never had a more physical workout in my life. The 22+ miles of conversation with my son left me physically and mentally exhausted. Without the assistance of Google or the Dictionary, I was forced to explain my understanding of the difference between what it means to be Blessed and what it means to be Privileged. It was further complicated by the fact that he used my behaviors as the benchmark of both. Without my permission, he pointed out the hypocrisy of leadership as he sees it and challenged me to explain your behavior on your behalf. It was never going to be a conversation of 'right or wrong' but rather a long discussion of 'understanding and experience'. As we pedaled the final mile of our journey which took much longer than necessary but long enough as required for the purpose, I shared with him a nugget my mom would instill in me that helped me maintain my sense of value and worth in the face of judgement; everybody blessed ain't privileged, and everybody privileged ain't blessed.
WHAT IS YOUR UNDERSTANDING OF THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BLESSED AND PRIVILEGED?