I finished The Help (Kathryn Stockett) today.

I don’t think I’ll ever be the same.
You see, I didn’t grow up here, my parents aren’t from the South, and well, this book wasn’t what I learned in college about life in the South, in 1962.
It’s taken me weeks to read it, my heart hurt so much. In my head, the stories I was read had to be from something 100 years ago. I kept rolling the date in my head: 1962. My parents generation. One generation removed from such injustice, not four, as I naively thought before. It just always seemed far away, a long time ago.
As recently as 50 years ago, black women had separate toilets in the white houses they worked in. Seriously? I grew up in Central America, Panama, to be specific. There is every shade of brown and the shade is not an issue. There were locals that were lighter than me. Color did not segregate (now, money sure did), but not color.
So a separate bathroom in a garage for the help? It still makes me nauseated.
If my parents taught me one thing, it was that God loves me, and ALL the children of the world. He does not distinguish-but the Creator wouldn’t, would He?
The Help opened my eyes to how far we’ve come, how far we’ve yet to go. It also convicted me about my children. The impression we can make on them. We have one shot at helping them see others through His eyes. One shot to love and be the one that loves them the most.
One character disregards her daughter, all together. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve hugged extra, kissed more, looked in to their eyes and smiled…I’m in love with them.
The book is heart wrenching, but also full of victory and truth.
It’s a reminder that we are all human. We hurt, laugh, love, and at the end of the day, all put our pants on the same way.

8 thoughts on “The Help

  1. Meg,

    Kristi, I read this a year ago and has to call Hannah who was the 2nd mother in my home for 43 years. We had a bathroom downstairs and she used it rather than the ones upstairs. I called her after I finished the book to ask how she’d felt but I didn’t because she began our conversation by telling me about her good memories working for us. She did all of the laundry, cooking , cleaning and even canning in the summer for all those years! A friend finished the book and was discussing it with me last month and so I decided to confront the topic. When I went to visit my parents I also visited Hannah and discussed the plot with her. She conceded that “those were hard times, but I never felt second class with y’all.”. She was uneducated but smart and she’s a good friend now but she was our family’s “help”. Many friends in my town had maids, help, but I think we all felt like they were our second mothers. I’m glad I could have the conversation with Hannah to know her perspective. You can see a picture of her on Maryanna’s blog http://Maryanna-bishop.blogspot.com It’s under the caramel icing recipe. Hannah gave my girls cooking lessons one day. I’ll always love her.

  2. Comment author Kristi Griem,

    What a great relationship! I know you treasure that, as well as your girls. I bet it did feel like a second mother, much like the book.

    What a different time. Wow!!

  3. Ann,

    It always made me sick to my stomach to hear my grandparents speak so horribly about “certain people” especially since my father has never been that way. But, it is much harder to deal with from our church members. Living in a rural town in the south, the feelings still run strong and the ways that I hear the teenage girls in my Acteens class talk just breaks my heart. Last night it was almost as if they had to make excuses for the fact that they actually liked a teacher who was black.

  4. Comment author Kristi Griem,

    Wow, we have a ways to go then! PTL for you and your influence with them!! Lord, help them to see with Your eyes!

  5. Randell Yoney,

    I really enjoyed reading your site, and it looks great. If you get a chance you should check my blog as well. I hope you have a good day!

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