How Do I Explain This (Trayvon Martin Trial) to My Kids?

Not-guilty.  This verdict has many people sad, many people outraged, many people screaming for justice.  It has me confused, as well as concerned.  I learned of George Zimmerman receiving a not-guilty verdict the same time my kids learned of it.  Just like the people you see on TV my kids were frustrated, hurt, and confused by it.

How do I explain this to my kids? The aftermath of Trayvon Martin - JackieBledsoe.com - Growing Family Leaders

They vented for about 10 minutes.  I sat and listened.  We haven’t talked about it since then.  I’m not sure what to say.  I don’t have an answer, at least one that can make some sense and good out of this situation.

What I could say

Almost 36 hours later, I am still wrestling with what to say.  I can tell them this is a reality in the country we live in.  That some people, who don’t know you, will view you a certain way, and you will have no control over it.  But the fear this could lead to their death is not a seed I want to plant in them.

I could tell them to be careful of their surroundings, don’t do anything that will bring negative attention to you, or that may make people label you and treat you according to that negative label or perception.  But the night he was murdered, Trayvon wasn’t doing any of that.

I can tell them that God is in control, which He is, and is the final Judge on what happened.  Yes, Trayvon was killed by a grown man, and this grown man is now able to walk free because some other adults said he didn’t violate any laws, but He will answer to God one day.   But I’m not sure this will bring any understanding or peace to what they are feeling.

In reality, I cannot explain this to my kids.  No matter what words I say, it just doesn’t make sense!

What I will say

I will talk to them about it, but I’ll be listening and learning more than speaking.

I’ll ask questions, and listen intently to their answers.

I’ll share my hurt and confusion, and assure them it is okay if they feel the same way.

I’ll also be prepared for the conversation to come up in the future, or never be mentioned again by them.

Finally, I’ll pray with them and hug them a little tighter than I normally do.  I’ll ask God to bring understanding.  I’ll pray for the Martin family, the Zimmerman family, and for this country.  And be hopeful God will bring some clarity, and mainly some peace to this situation.

What will you say?

You may have already had this conversation with your kids.  Maybe it wasn’t as difficult for you as it is for me.  Or maybe you decided you won’t say anything, as your kids are too young, too old, or something like that.  No matter where you stand, I need your help.  I’d like to hear how you are explaining this series of events to your kids.

What will you say to your kids?  How will you explain the fact a supposedly just system allowed a person who killed a kid to walk free?

photo credit: GrungeTextures via photopin cc

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5 thoughts on “How Do I Explain This (Trayvon Martin Trial) to My Kids?

  1. I will tell my kids to pull their pants up and dont attack guys with guns. Then i will explain who first put chains on blacks and how much dope jesse and martin would sell at them marches

  2. Americans feel George Zimmerman stood his ground and was justified in killing an unarmed teenager that return home after getting a snack from the corner store to watch the basketball game. How do I give directions to my sons to protect them from this kind of violence? Should I tell them when a total stranger is following you in a truck Run? Or do I tell them to stand their ground. Do I tell them if that stranger gets out of the vehicle run? Or do I tell them to stand their ground? Do I tell them when that stranger approaches them in the dark to run? Or do I tell them to stand their ground? Do I tell them that if they are in fear for their life because a strange man followed them in a car then go out and pursued them on foot for reasons that they are totally unaware of stand their ground and protect themselves. Or do I tell them to co-operate with any stranger they see for what ever reason the stranger gives and go with them willingly because you have no right to stand your ground as a young black man in the land of the free and home of the brave? That the laws made to protect the people only apply to white people and dogs and not young black men who untrained American citizens deem suspicious. Or maybe I should teach them to shoot first and then make up a story about how they stood their ground. I’m just saying America, what do I say when my young black honor role student sons look in my eyes for they answer to their pain and frustration?

  3. Jackie, like you I have no idea what to tell our 6 sons and 1 daughter. We talked about it on Sunday night for about a hour but all I could do was listen to there hurt and pain over this unjust verdict. I sharedy hurt and pain with them, but as a father I am suppose to have an answer! I’m suppose to be able to give them direction! But how do I give them direction to protect them from George Zimmerman or people that feel he was right and justified in his actions. According to poles 51% of