And perhaps there is no better day than the Fourth of July to share with you the wisdom of Red Engine Press author and man of grace and heart…and friend…Jim Enderle. When I first listened to this particular Tedd Talk, several months ago now, I was struck by how empathetic children can be…and how oblivious.
As a preteen, I was intrigued by the Freedom Riders and I worshiped John Lewis and Diane Nash for their courage and intellect. But the Civil Rights Movement was like an adventure story to me—delivered weekly in Life Magazine and Time and Newsweek. You see, I didn’t actually know any black people. I didn’t even realize there was a thriving black community the other side of Garrison Avenue in Fort Smith. That I didn’t realize this at ages eight or nine or ten or eleven shocks me now. The fight was in Little Rock and Montgomery. Not Fort Smith, or so I thought. And when things did start to change here, my ignorance made me insensitive. For example, in High School, I didn’t realize that the shy girl sitting across from me was black. I thought she was a Filipina. These childhood insensitivities mortify me now. Especially given my romantic notions about the Civil Rights Movement.
Jim’s story of his own awakening moves me because of my own circuitous and never ending route to understanding. But while understanding is complex, even children can be..and often are…compassionate.
NOTE: Jim Enderle’s book “Fight, Flight or Freeze: A Love Story,” is an even deeper introspection than his moving Tedd Talks. You can get it on Amazon or local Indy Bookstores like Bookish in Fort Smith, AR or Chapters on Main in Van Buren, AR. The audiobook is amazing. You can buy it on Libro.fm and Audible.com.