Tonight after dinner we talked to our kids about Martin Luther King Jr. I have been so focused on what we might do to make it a “Day on. Not a day off.” that I forgot to sit down and remember who this man really was. I was glad that my husband reminded us that today was the day the civil rights leader was born.
We watched a program “March On! The Day My Brother Martin Changed The World” based on the book by Dr. Christine King Farris. In it, she recounts the beauty of her brother’s historical “I Have a Dream” speech – the enthusiasm of thousands as they marched from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial to the Washington Monument.
I told my four-year-old that Martin had a dream that we could live in peace and harmony, and that sometimes he was teased or bullied for those thoughts. She associated right away with that idea of having a dream. I told her that when I was younger, I had a dream of saving trees. (And the odd thing is that I immediately felt compelled to reclaim that dream that has gathered some cobwebs on the shelf over the years.) We talked about how Martin didn’t use violence to make others think what he thought, but how he drew on his work as a preacher to talk to others and make them believe in the merits of equality and justice.
I remember that as a child I had a feeling that I could and would do big things in this world. Achievements as big as Martin Luther King Jr.’s accomplishments. I credit my parents for believing in me when I had such lofty ideals. These ambitions will be fulfilled and realized if my daughter is not only in bed dreaming of all the wonderful ways she can change the world, but if she wakes up tomorrow and does what she can to put those ideas into action.