Monday, January 18, 2010


Today I had a day off from school. I've had this day off every year since I was a little girl but today it meant more than just "Whoopee! I'm going shopping!" or "I'm off to a friends house!" This last week I've truly been thinking about Martin Luther King, Jr., the Civil Rights Movement and all those who were involved in making our country a better and more equal place to live.

If it hadn't been for Dr. King maybe I wouldn't have the family I have now. Even if I did, maybe we wouldn't be welcome in some of our favorite restaurants or maybe my girls wouldn't be allowed to go to the same schools as their friends or do the same activities. These are thoughts I cannot fathom and if I'm being honest, can't stand to think about.

Every year I talk about Martin Luther King, Jr. to my kindergarten class. I always feel this is an important discussion but part of me also feels as though I'm the one to burst their Utopian bubble. Of course they notice the different skin colors of their friends but it makes about as much difference to them as the different hair or eye colors in our class. The idea that at one time Bobby had to use a different drinking fountain than Billy is completely foreign to them.

Usually teachers love for their students to ask "why?" and question new thoughts or ideas. During this talk though I silently plead for them not to ask "why?" because I honestly don't know how to answer the question as to why people were segregated in the first place. Why one color was perceived to be better than another. Why discrimination was allowed to go on for so long. Why there is still tolerance for inequality in the world.

Luckily with five-year-olds I'm able to talk in more general terms about how Martin Luther King, Jr. wanted everyone to get along and be kind to one another. I talk about his 1964 Nobel Peace Prize win and how they can be like Dr. King by using their words when having a disagreement with a friend (at this point there's always an eye roll or two as wrestling and fisticuffs are definitely the preferred mode of problem-solving with some of my sweeties).

As an aside, this year when I brought up the Nobel Peace Prize several of my smartie pants students knew President Obama was awarded this prize as well. One student was quick to pipe up with, "well, you know, George W. Bush did not win that because he didn't deserve it!" I definitely had to bite my lip to keep from laughing at that comment!

So today I am grateful for Martin Luther King, Jr. because he helped make it possible for my children to be treated fairly and with the same respect every person deserves. Thank you Dr. King!

1 comment:

Kristi J said...

beautiful post!! Praising God for MLK!! kj