Our daughter, Jenesis, is like most children. Well, she is alike in many things. She loves to play, she has a vivid imagination and she enjoys gatherings that involve food. Naturally, she was looking forward to yesterday’s match-up between the Atlanta Falcons and the New England Patriots. Imagine my surprise when my daughter informed me that she was rooting for the Patriots. She sort of hurt my feelings. (Did I mention that I was born and raised in Sumter County, GA?) I said to her, “how could you choose to cheer for the other team, Jenesis, knowing that your mother is a Georgia Peach?” She dropped her head only for a moment and then returned her gaze to mine with these perceptive words;
“Were this the Civil War and the South won, we would all still be slaves. I am cheering for the Patriots because they stand for freedom.” – Jenesis E. Bannarbie
I found her statement extraordinary.
Most adults just see two teams in different jerseys playing America’s favorite game. Jenesis looked on the representation of these groups and decided on principle. Hers being: I stand with freedom.
She has been a fan of history since 2nd grade. Over the years, the era that has garnered her attention is that of Abraham Lincoln’s presidency. She is quick to tell you that her favorite person of all time is Harriet Tubman. And though we live in Virginia, she says the only great thing about living in the south is because of all the historical landmarks here.
Our daughter certainly shocked me with her choice in football teams for this Super Bowl. However, I am assured of this one thing: Jenesis isn’t like most children in that she is not afraid to go against the popular or majority choice. She understands the freedom of choice and exercises that free will with wisdom beyond her years. Her courage to stand at the tender age of ten gives me confidence that she will make wise decisions when she blooms into a woman. Tyrone and I have the responsibility to continue to groom her choices in decision making with good standards.
So the story will be that the Patriots won the game of Super Bowl 51 in overtime. Jenesis will likely remember it as the night she stood as the sole member of her family who was not buying into the “RISE UP” slogan. In her eyes, we had all better WISE UP.