Sunday, April 21, 2013

A Lesson From Jackie

I went to see the movie 42 today with my son. He really wanted to see it and I was hoping to expose him to the lesson(s) that could come out the story of Jackie Robinson.  After seeing the movie, we sat and talked and I am confident I made the right decision to take him.  I am writing this short post to my son Jaden….in case he finds himself in life needing a reminder…… and to anyone else that might be listening.

I sat through this movie mesmerized.  I love any movie about baseball but this was for very different reasons and honestly my mind was a blur.  I started wondering about the type of person I am today and really hoped that, had I lived during the time period when Jackie Robinson entered major league baseball, I would have been the guy that befriended Jackie Robinson and was accepting of change.  I would like to think I would have been the guy speaking his mind about how the world should work and the guy that stood up against racism.  I really believe I would have been that person. Growing up, while equality among color had made great strides….the world certainly was not perfect.  I was always the guy that tried to make friends with and stick up for the guy/girl on the outside…… it for color or any number of reasons.  I was the guy that wanted everyone to feel accepted and fit in.  Even later in life, albeit somewhat silly, I remember buying a t-shirt from Timberland in Chicago that read “Give Racism the Boot”.  I wore that shirt proudly and in places that might have been considered risky.  Many times I came close to getting my ass kicked but not by white people… African Americans because from afar they just saw a white dude wearing a shirt that had the word ‘racism’ on it.  They assumed the worst until getting closer and actually reading what the shirt said. We would usually just laugh, exchange some words and move on but every one of those many instances broke down the color barrier a little more.

I am thankful today, that my children do not understand racism.  Each of my children has friends of every race and religion and that is all they know.  I have mentioned this before but I literally think my 5 year old daughter is color blind. She does have some African American friends who she thankfully only knows as ‘friends’.  It is quite remarkable but if you ask my daughter to describe these friends, she will talk about what they wear or their sense of humor or how smart they are but she will never ever say they are ‘black’.  Ask her 20 different ways; the color of their skin will never ever be included in one of her replies. It is the way things should be and I hope she applies this to everything in life from color to religion to sexual preference.  We are all just people and if we unite as one, we can make the world a better place.  I really think this is a big part of the message of the movie……for my son and for all of us.

“A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives”
Jackie Robinson

The story of Jackie Robinson tied to racism in the world but if you step back it is really tied to one man helping to change the world.  Look at how far we have come since 1947 when Jackie Robinson entered major league baseball.  Look where the world was then and look where it is today.  After the movie, that is what I sat and told my son. One man made a difference.  One man changed the world.  You are one man, you can do exactly the same thing. Today, the world is not perfect.  We have made great strides in some areas of injustice but there are still a lot of improvements to be made.  There is disease, there is suffering and unfortunately race issues still exist as we have seen by recent events.  We can all as individuals jump in and lend a hand.  We can all as individuals make a difference.  We can all as individuals make the world a better place and, as I have said many times, if we as individuals come together as one with this mentality, changing the world is a certainty. My fight is against cancer.  What is your fight against? There is plenty of room for change in this world.  It is just waiting for you to jump in and make it happen.

To my son and my daughter, may you always treat everyone equally, may you fight for those that are treated less than equal and may you always know that within you is the power to make a difference.  

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