Grab a pañuelo and brace yourself because this video about the decathlete and Olympic champion Ashton Eaton and his amazing mother Rosyln Eaton is about to give you ALL the FEELS. When you hear what Ashton as a little boy asked his mother after a scary situation they were in and how she responded, if you are anything like me, you will ugly cry like Kim Kardashian.
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Watch it so we can discuss, OK? Here:
To hear Ashton's mother talk about how she was raising her beautiful child of mixed heritage in a place "where not everybody embraced cultural differences" brings a knot to my throat. It hits close to home because my family is mixed, my children are mixed, but I am blessed to live in a place that embraces cultural differences. Unfortunately, I know that even in this day and age there are places that still do not accept differences and people get hurt, demeaned and mistreated for being different. Let's be brutally honest, sometimes people get killed because of their differences.
To think that one day when Ashton was "only in like first grade" and driving around with his mom, strangers in a truck started driving around them in donuts, honking and harassing them for no reason other than what, Ashton's appearance?
I can only imagine the terror that Rosyln must have been experiencing trying to keep her child safe while driving and then to have Ashton ask her why people were behaving that way to them. How do you answer a question like that, how do you explain to a child, your child, without scaring them more, without scarring them? It had to be overwhelming for Rosyln to tell him that some people "just don't understand about different colors."
And then that sweet little child asked his mommy, "Do you want me to hide?" This breaks my heart on so many levels. In his child's mind, he thought he could help them be safe by hiding. He thought that if the color of his skin was what was provoking the situation, he should hide himself. He knew that his mother's skin color wasn't the issue; he knew it was his skin color that was the issue. Maybe he thought he was the problem, not the ignorance of the people attacking them. That is a heavy load for a child, something that could affect the way they see themselves for life.
How his mother responded to his heartbreaking question BLOWS my mind because even under the stress and fear she was feeling she said, "No, you don't ever need to hide. You always do the best that you can and that will speak for itself."
Can I just say that it comes as no surprise to me now that I know this story that Rosyln Eaton raised a champion because Rosyln Eaton herself is a champion? I thank Rosyln for her example because as mothers we may not all raise Olympic champions, but we can all raise children who don't hide or blame themselves when faced with ignorance.
Image via YouTube