One year, in Bermuda, I was supply teaching

An Infants' Class, four and five-year-olds

Bright, eager, trusting children.

Christmas was just two weeks away.

We were having an 'Art Activity'

Tearing, cutting, biting paper to bits

To make a personal collage of 'Christmas'

On the general idea:

'How does Christmas make you FEEL - in COLOUR!'

It was a bold undertaking, and they loved it.


We chatted a bit about the project -

The effect of colour on people.

Why we might like or dislike certain colours.

They were very forth-coming, and knowledgable.

I didn't 'push it' too hard.

More a suggestion to encourage 'thinking':

Would any child choose to follow an 'idea'?

Most kids wanted red and green paper

Because it was a 'Christmas poster'

And that was that! End of story!'

Which was fine, their choice.

'Red and green are traditional to northern countries.' I said.

'The date chosen to celebrate the birth of Jesus

Fell in their wintertime.

People decorated with what they had to hand.

And that became 'the custom' all over the world.'

(There was more to 'red and green' than that, of course,

But not for young minds that day.)


I pointed out how beautiful our own island flowers were

At this time of year – our Bermuda Christmas season.

'Bushes and trees and gardens are full of rainbow flowers

Cascading into walkways and roadsides

Almost into your house!'

And they giggled, because it was true.

'Would anyone consider a Christmas collage

Of beautiful Bermuda colours?'

(A variation on the theme, but so what?

We had nudged the 'collective mind' ajar.)


The children responded with great enthusiasm,

Quite taken with this new idea.

I moved about the room, chatting and helping.

Suddenly, over the buzz of activity, I realized,

'Someone is sobbing!'

Huge, gutsy, despairing tears.

I leaned over the young lad

With his head buried in his arms

To ask him, as privately as possible,

'What's wrong?'

He raised his flooding eyes,

'My daddy says I'm not allowed to like pink

Because I'm a boy!'


I felt 'hit by a fist'

Square between the eyes.

What to say? WHAT TO SAY!

It was a personal, terrible moment.

Homosexuality in my community

Was still very divisive.

And potentially dangerous

To myself, my family, my home.

Any response was fraught with peril.

My mind was working like a computer.

I don't remember what I did say

Because I was actually afraid.

But the child smiled through his tears

And went back to cutting and sticking



Did the boy use pink?

I don't know.

I had to concentrate on the whole task at hand

All the children, not just one.

So I don't recall.

But, only too clearly, I remember the Fear

That fell across my words.

And I'm not alone, am I?

Even today?


Cynthia Buell Thomas, May, 2019

◄ Bossy Boots!

I Hope There Is A Heaven For That Pretty Pink Dress ►


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Don Matthews

Sat 25th May 2019 00:39

No, you cannot play with dolls
But why? You are a boy
I like to play with girls, my friends
And play with their pink toys

I cannot have you liking pink
But why? You are a boy
You must get used to liking blue
Trucks, planes (blue) for toys

It angers me these thoughts persist
Which try and brainwash kids
Don't force a gender thing on them
Let go, do what they bid

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Stu Buck

Fri 24th May 2019 20:05

lovely words as ever cynthia

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