After a delicious dinner of my mom’s homemade duk mandu guk (Korean rice cake and dumpling soup) and her made-from-scratch kimchi that has ruined me against store-bought versions, I had the brilliant idea to get milkshakes since we are so close to a Steak ‘N Shake here (we are visiting my parents). On our drive over, the boys and I noticed a huge rainbow in the sky. The beautiful sight instigated a heated debate in the backseat.
It should come as no surprise that my younger son, Connor, was representing the pot-of-gold party. He was quickly shot down by my older son, Ethan, who just as unsurprisingly was speaking on behalf of all opposers to that belief. It went something like this:
Connor: “I wish I could find the pot-of-gold at the end of that rainbow!”
Ethan (with a little disdain): “C, there is no such thing. Who told you that? Rainbows are reflected light, and you cannot find them. That is just a myth!”
Connor (with a little hurt): “No…there could be one…”
Ethan: “That is SO silly.” (I’m picturing an eye-roll here.)
Connor: “Ethan, stop!” (I’m picturing a crushed spirit here.)
Me: “Ethan, don’t crush your brother’s dreams.”
Ethan: “Mama, but isn’t it true that there’s no such thing?”
Me (who am I to crush dreams?): “I don’t know. I’ve never seen one, but that doesn’t always mean it doesn’t exist.”
Ethan: “I’m a scientist! I know you can’t get to the end of a rainbow.”
Me: “And your brother has a wonderful imagination. Let him keep it.”
Ethan: “But even if he’s wrong?!?”
I told them about a picture I had just viewed on the internet before we left on our milkshake mission. It was of an African-American police officer, Leroy Smith, helping a white supremacist who was at a KKK rally in South Carolina. The officer was assisting the rally attendant out of the sweltering 98-degree weather when it became apparent the latter was suffering and needed shelter and water. We talked about how Officer Smith chose to be caring to this man who not only had views against him but views that were plainly wrong. We discussed loving actions over hateful talk. We talked about respecting others instead of just heatedly bickering with them. We don’t have to nor should we agree with them, but we can still try to treat them as humans.
We talked about how the world is full of people with different ideas, opinions, perspectives, beliefs, and personalities. My boys have many similarities but also many differences. We spoke of how to appreciate those differences and even capitalize on them to be much better than if they were both exactly the same. We imagined how a scientific realist like Ethan and a visionary dreamer like Connor could find a way not to fight against each other but instead combine those gifts into endless possibilities for good.
At this point, we pulled into Steak ‘N Shake and found that we all had a deep love for highly caloric dessert drinks. We could agree wholeheartedly that the dietary splurge was worth it. I hope the boys remember that life is too short not to enjoy an occasional milkshake. I hope they remember that life is too short not to love people, ALL people, whether those people are pot-of-gold believers or not. I hope I can remember this all as well.