My 4-year-old grand daughter heard about different shades of skin colour from someone at nursery school.

She says she is pink and I am brown and white (here I am laughing out loud)

The reason I am brown and white is that I live in jeans or track pants.

My legs are always covered. I have had an inferiority complex regarding my legs since I was a teenager and became used to wearing jeans. I love long dresses and jeans and as a result of my choice of clothing, my legs hardly get the essential Vitamin D from the sun. My face and arms are brown because I love sleeveless tops and dresses.

So here’s a 4 year old telling me that I am 2 colours. The difference is that she is saying it so innocently. There is no hate or prejudice in her tone and no sense of superiority etched on her face.

It got me thinking that if I was prejudiced or hateful I could have turned what was an innocent observation into a race issue that will probably shape her for the rest of her life. 

As adults, we have countless opportunities to make the world a better place by choosing to instil love, tolerance and acceptance in our children and grandchildren yet so many of us choose paths that create hate, anger and prejudice.

There is a missed opportunity that could turn innocent questions into inclusivity when immediate thoughts of superiority play in our minds. When thoughts of being better than another plague our everyday thoughts. 

We need to do better by the future generation.

Imagine if I had turned around and explained to her that she is better than the brown friends she plays with at school? All I would be doing is perpetuating a vicious cycle. Someone needs to stop this bus so we can all get off at a place where we can do more than kumbaya, more than pretend all is well. Someone needs to tell 4-year-olds that while it is ok to notice differences in their friends, it is never ok to think you’re better than them.

Someone needs to stop this hate that we are living in and pour love into it and the love needs to start from the young children. That someone could be you! There will always be missed opportunities in life and lessons we fail to learn but there must never be a lesson where we forget our humanity and focus on ourselves only. We are not the world and the world is not us, and we cannot continue teaching our children to hate and live angry lives. 

The world is filled with people who have problems as a direct result of racism and bullying and adding to that merely makes us hate each other.

Ava is the new generation and as such, we need to be conscious of the enormous responsibility we have been given to not only make them better people but to create spaces for all humans to live in relative harmony.

If the colour of my skin is not important to my grandchild then why is it important to white people? There is a lesson to be learnt here and we are failing at learning. Our children and grandchildren are teaching us or attempting to teach us and we are deaf to their cries.

The colour of my skin seems to matter more to adult white people than children.

Let us take a moment to learn the lesson and listen to what the young children are telling us.