This visit was not my first to the Howard County police station. I had been there before - in handcuffs - after a drinking and driving arrest. It was therefore quite meaningful to me to be part of Bridgeway’s Bless the World event earlier this year. My seven-year-old son and I joined a group from Bridgeway that set out to bless local police officers and postal service workers. But as I walked through the doors of the police station holding my son’s hand, I was the one who felt blessed. My son’s first experience in a police department was not being shaped by fear - or worse, a crime - but by the goodness of loving our neighbors.
Bridgeway has made an intentional effort to help our kids and our community see our commonalities as human beings, no matter what uniform we wear. I teach a K-3 BridgeKids class on Sunday mornings, and last October, Bridgeway invited local police officers to talk to our children about Halloween safety. The officers provided helpful safety tips and answered the children’s questions. They handed out pretend police badges and coupons for free soft drinks.
But perhaps what was most significant is that our children had a chance to interact with police officers under friendly and fun circumstances. It was so encouraging to watch our kids have such a positive engagement with the officers. I pray these children will remember this experience as they grow-up and become fully equipped gracists and champions of racial reconciliation.
As a minority parent living in our current racial and political climate, I realize the important role I have in teaching my own children skills to understand their world. However, I grew up in Kenya, and in many ways, I am still learning aspects of the American culture. I am grateful for a church family that walks alongside us.
Men and women from Bridgeway are modeling for me and my children how to be people who build bridges and love people well. When I think back about my own encounter with police and walking into the Howard County station, I am grateful Bridgeway is helping my children and me write a new story. I know that with or without uniforms, we are all human beings, created and equally loved by God.