That’s what another fifth grader asked my 10 year old, football-loving son who wore his favorite shirt to school: a Kaepernick jersey.
“Hey kid! Can I burn your jersey?”
For my little man, that jersey represents more than just a football team and his favorite quarterback.
It represents his California childhood.
He vividly remembers his first five years of life in Northern California. We frequently visited our favorite city, San Francisco! And as a family, we grew to become #Niners fans!
(This pic was at a Niners vs Texans game at NRG Stadium in Houston, where we currently live. We had no idea so many Niners fans live in H-Town!)
Back to the jersey, for many people, it holds an entirely different and controversial significance than it does for my 10 year old son.
When that 5th grade kid asked “hey, can I burn your jersey?” my son’s answer was simple, straight and controversy-free.
He said “No.”
The kid walked away.
Thank God there wasn’t any escalating drama.
But it definitely made for an interesting answer to my question: “Hey Papi! How was school today?”
“Oh, you know, some kid asked if he could burn my jersey.”
Oh cool. Wait WHAT?!?!
Again, thank God it wasn’t a major issue, no one got in a fight and the elementary school Principal didn’t get called.
What we did get was a meaningful family conversation.
I think my favorite part was when my husband asked our son, “Papi, do you know why Kaepernick is kneeling during the Pledge of Allegiance?”
My fifth grader answered in a simple and profound way:
“I think Kaepernick wants everyone to be treated equally.”
We asked, “Papi, do you agree?” Should white, black, latino, or anyone … be treated equally?”
He said “yes.”
We continued this conversation over dinner at Uberrito, a pretty cool Mexican restaurant.
A local Lone Star College History professor was sitting at the table next to us, and he overheard our conversation about what happened at the elementary school.
He came over and congratulated our son for not being afraid to take a stand. He applauded him for thinking for himself and not being influenced by what other people think.
We were beaming with pride and high-fived our son.
The professor high-fived him, too!
As a family, we talked about why people are upset that Kaepernick is kneeling.
We talked about why some people like and others dislike the way he is protesting. (And why some are jersey-burning mad.)
We talked about going to the source and finding out what Kaepernick himself is saying and doing, so we can understand the situation and not base our opinions on hearsay.
And we talked about what it meant for him to wear a jersey with a controversy attached to it.
Yes, his red Niners jersey represents his birth state of California and his favorite football team, but it also takes a stand for equality.
And we are a Christian family. We believe God so loved “the world.” Jesus died and rose again to save “the world.”
Do we want to treat people with the same sacrificial, selfless love God showed, equally?
Thanks for reading my blog!
I’ll sign off as usual, laughing (and having meaningful family conversations) thru life,
This post (and moment in your life) has so much meaningful simplicity. Thank you for sharing it. I will be doing the same.