We’ve been talking about Martin Luther King, Jr. in our house lately, and it reminded me of this post from 2012 when I tried to teach my kids about race while they were hungry. Always a mistake. In honor of MLK day, I once again give you The Story of the Eggs:
In my house hard-boiled eggs are made by at least the half-dozen. Each kid would eat boiled eggs until explosion or yolk-asphyxiation occurs, so I have to cut them off at three each. This morning I had a mix of white and brown eggs. As I put them in the pot, the fighting started.
“I want just white ones!”
“Actually, I want brown ones.”
(I know this sounds like agreement, but trust me, it’s fight seeds.)
I decide this is a good time for a lesson. A friend of mine did this with her kids, and from her story it was a meaningful revelation for all short people involved. I was about to embark on an early morning good parenting moment. Go me!
Once the eggs had boiled and cooled a bit in ice water, I began my fantastic parenting, holding a brown egg in one hand an a white one in the other:
“Are these the same or different?”
“How are they different?”
“They’re different colors.”
“Right. The shells are different colors. This shell is white, and this shell is brown. Are people sometimes different colors too?”
“Uh, really? Aren’t they sometimes different colors?”
“Um, for this to work, I need you to think about all the people you know. Do they all look the same?”
“Right, people come in different colors like these eggs, right?”
“Whew. OK. So, do you think these eggs are the same or different on the inside?”
“I want the brown one!”
“No I want the brown one!”
“Just wait. We’re learning something first! Let’s see if these eggs are different or the same on the inside.”
I crack and peel the eggs. The kids are fighting over which color they want. I hold up two peeled, perfectly white eggs:
“So, are these the same or different on the inside?”
“I want the brown one!”
“Can I have some salt?”
“PAY ATTENTION! We’re learning here! Do these eggs look the same or different?”
The kids have no freaking idea what I want from them. They just want to give me an answer that would make me shut up and hand over the eggs.
“Yes! They are exactly the same on the inside even though one was white and one was brown on the outside. So, what does that tell us? Did we learn anything?”
“Can I have salt, Mama?”
“NO! You won’t get anything until you learn this lesson! Does the fact that this brown egg and this white egg look exactly the same on the inside tell us anything about people?”
“URG! Remember, one was white?? And one was brown??! And people are different colors too!? But on the inside the eggs are the same??? What do you think different color people are like on the inside?”
“They have hearts!”
“They have poop!”
The kids are now in hysterics. I’ve lost my audience, which I never really had to begin with. Fuck it. Just eat your eggs, kids. Thanks for the learning moment.