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Easter is a season of faith, yes. According to Merriam-Webster, the only definition of faith that is not affiliated with religion within the definition itself reads: “faith: strong belief or trust in someone or something.” (Sidenote, please let me know if you, too, gain genuine joy from looking up words in the dictionary. Growing up, our dictionaries were capital-W Worn! My family is constantly learning­, and I am maybe…87% sure that my most asked question in the house is some variation of “Mom/Dad, what does ___ mean?”)

My parents also constantly tell me and my sisters that no matter our goals for ourselves or their goals for us, we can do anything we want to do. We can be anything we want; we can earn anything we work for. I explain something wildly technical that I’m learning from my program to my dad, and he shakes his head and chuckles. He says “Woooow.” He talks about his pride in each of us.

Recently I asked my dad if he felt that he needed to change any of his views or work harder once he and my mom had three black daughters. Admittedly, my dad is already a pretty considerate dude, but perhaps he did work to change. To paraphrase, he said that he just always wanted us to have better than he did—to be smarter than he was and to never doubt that we could do anything. Of course, no parent-child relationship is sparkling and perfect, and I can certainly recall times when I have not felt like I could do anything that I dreamed. But it is the existence of my parents’ belief in me that holds comfort—the knowledge that whether I can feel it or not, my parents are not going to stop believing in my worth. Lately I have fostered such true comfort that my feeling loved by God does not dictate its existence. It never did. I have had it since Jesus died and rose, and I will have more yet.

— Nia McKenney

Photo: The McKenney Family

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