This is in response to the recent article about talking to children about racism, particularly in regard to the first grader who cried uncontrollably after being shown a video with the narration of Martin Luther King's assassination. Rather than listening to the narration of Martin Luther King's death, I think a first grader needs to achieve a better understanding of the importance of Martin Luther King Jr's life; a life spent speaking out on behalf of others. His message is not intended to invoke fear, but rather to emphasize the importance of compassion, the importance of standing up for what you believe in, the importance of doing what is right, and in speaking out about things that matter. To be quite honest, I have not talked to my daughter about "racism" or the "assassination" because I don't think a black and white world needs to be invoked into the life of a 6 year old who already sees the world in color. When is the right time? I don't know. I do know that children are not born with "racist" thoughts so it is a rather difficult dilemma as to how and when to explain such a complex topic; the continued discussion, a sad reminder that the dream of Martin Luther King Jr has not yet been fulfilled. Martin Luther King Jr sacrificed his life in the fight for equality but his legacy lives on because his message encompasses so much more. To me, Martin Luther King's message is a message of hope, not just for African Americans, but for all men and women in our society to work together for the common good. A collection of the words of Martin Luther King Jr:
“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
“If you lose hope, somehow you lose the vitality that keeps moving, you lose that courage to be, that quality that helps you go on in spite of it all. And so today I still have a dream."
"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character."
“We must remember that intelligence is not enough. Intelligence plus character-that is the goal of true education. The complete education gives one not only power of concentration, but worthy objectives upon which to concentrate. ”
“We are prone to judge success by the index of our salaries or the size of our automobiles rather than by the quality of our service and relationship to mankind.”
“Everybody can be great...because anybody can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love."
“The time is always right, to do what's right.”
“Never, never be afraid to do what's right, especially if the well-being of a person or animal is at stake. Society's punishments are small compared to the wounds we inflict on our soul when we look the other way.”
“One's dignity may be assaulted, vandalized, cruelly mocked, but it an never be taken away unless it is surrendered."
“We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people."
"An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity. "
“Many people fear nothing more terribly than to take a position which stands out sharply and clearly from the prevailing opinion. The tendency of most is to adopt a view that is so ambiguous that it will include everything and so popular that it will include everybody. Not a few men who cherish lofty and noble ideals hide them under a bushel for fear of being called different.”
“Don't allow anybody to make you feel that you're nobody.”
“Almost always the creative, dedicated minority has made the world better. ”
"If we are to go forward, we must go back and rediscover those precious values - that all reality hinges on moral foundations and that all reality has spiritual control.
The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.
I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality... I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.
Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/m/martin_luther_king_jr.html#Treo1GEosCeUX40j.99
I regrettably was unable to attend the Martin Luther King celebration this year but I wanted to pay tribute to him in some way, especially since I believe the message of Martin Luther King Jr is to be celebrated; not just on his birthday, but lived throughout the year. To all who have taken the time to read this. . .Thank You!