5 Ways to Lead Your Family into Race-Wise Conversations

Dr Michelle Reyes

by Dr Michelle Reyes

Sophia is the Greek word for Wisdom, and Propel Sophia seeks out the voices of truly wise women and asks them to share worked examples of how they express faith in daily life. Pull up a chair at Sophia’s table, won’t you? There’s plenty of space.



Race-related issues are some of the hardest conversations parents are having with their kids right now.

You’re not just trying to make sense of messy, complicated social realities, you’re also trying to communicate what the Bible has to say about race and how we as Christian families should be responding.

This is not an easy task.

In addition, your child is overhearing conversations at school and on social media about current events. Our kids are looking for guidance and, no doubt, if they don’t receive it in the home, they’ll be guided by forces elsewhere.

As Christian parents, we’ve been given a good and godly calling to raise up our children in the way they should go, and this includes being race-wise. A race-wise family asks God for help in unpacking racial issues and seeks his direction to know how to identify and combat racism in all its overt and subtle forms.

Here are five simple ways to help us lead our families into more gospel-rooted race-wise conversations.

1. Pray about Race & Culture

The current prayer rhythms in your family, like praying at meals and before bed, are natural and easy segues to incorporating prayer for people of other cultures.

Pray about what’s happening on the world scale, such as wars or natural disasters, or national tragedies like the immigration crisis at the border. Ask God to protect, provide, and bring peace.

When you’re at a restaurant trying new ethnic food, whether it’s Ethiopian, Ukrainian, or Costa Rican, thank God for the food you’re eating and for the people of that culture. Be specific. Name the actual dishes you’re eating and the ethnic background of the people around you.

You can trust that the more often you pray, “Thank you for this people group,” the more you will start to hear your kids thanking God for other peoples as well.

2. Always Point to Scripture

If you have young children, buy them a Bible in which people are depicted with different skin tones.

Read the stories in Scripture together and ask them, What are these people’s ethnicity? Can you find where they lived on a map? What do you think they looked like? What kinds of foods and holidays did they have? What values were important to them?

In passages where there is racial conflict, ask, Why are people fighting here? How do you think God feels about these kinds of fights? What would you do if you were in this situation?

The Bible’s commentary on God’s heart for multiculturalism, its celebration of different cultures within the body of Christ, and its framework for racial unity are the most important tools your child needs to navigate race-related issues.

3. Develop Your Child’s Emotional Intelligence

Read books on everything from sadness to anger to compassion so that your children have the emotional toolkit to express those emotions in the face of racial injustice.

Again, read the Bible together and, when reading stories about racial divisions, even wars, ask questions like “What do you think this person felt when that happened?” and “Who do you most identify with and why?” Help your child make explicit emotional connections to racial suffering and oppression through a biblical lens.

In addition, the times that our kids see us in tears because of ongoing racial violence will perhaps have an even greater impact than any words we could say about it.

4. Read Books & Watch Movies on Race & Culture

Stories are a powerful medium to help our children engage in thoughtful, nuanced conversations about race and culture.

Choose age-appropriate books and movies by diverse authors that honor different cultural and ethnic backgrounds by depicting their characters in positive, redeeming ways.

Then, make a point of having an intentional conversation afterward. Make it fun - pull out the ice cream or make another bowl of popcorn - and then discuss questions, such as, What issues did people of color face in this story? How did the main character(s) respond? Was this the right or wrong approach? Why? How would you respond in this situation?

Part of how we can help break cycles of harmful stereotypes against ethnic minorities is by exposing your family to stories in which people of diverse ethnicities are the heroes and superheroes.

5. Talk about the News Together

As race-wise families, we can raise our children to have gospel-rooted news literacy.

Teach your kids to think before they click. Help them assess what looks like click-bait (i.e. inflammatory) articles versus what looks research-based.

When watching the news together, take a few moments to pause the television and reflect on both the text and the images on screen. Ask your children, “What do you see?” and “What message do the words and images convey?” Questions like these equip our children to think about the nuances of any given issue.

Help your kids slow down, assess the situation thoroughly by reading multiple sources, and then pray about the world around them.




Michelle Reyes (PhD) is the Vice President of the Asian American Christian Collaborative. She is the author of Becoming All Things: How Small Changes Lead to Lasting Connections Across Cultures and co-author of The Race-Wise Family: 10 Postures to Becoming Households of Healing & Hope (May 17, 2022). Follow Michelle on Twitter and Instagram.