Today was a beautiful day. The girls started with their journaling. I found this great printable from Thirty days, and I love what the girls wrote. Sadly the long adoption process is always on the docket here at our house… and it ended up on both girls dreams for our family. I think my favorite is that my 8 year old said her dream for the world was for women to have the same rights as men around the world. We often talk about the fact that women can do all the same things men can do and that in America that is mostly true, but it is not so around the world. She is realizing that there are those disenfranchised that are just like her, but in different countries, and she has trouble wrapping her head around it.
The girls have read lots of books about Martin Luther King Jr. We own Martin’s Big Words and have read so many other books like it. I can’t get enough of reading about how love will conquer hate. I can’t help feeling that all of his quotes sound like they have come straight from the Bible. I can’t help but marvel at this peace, passion, and love in the midst of such a time and place filled with such anger and hate. But I’m white and half a decade after the beginning of civil rights movement, can I really even understand the amazingness of this choice of love in the face of overwhelming ignorance and hate? I want to. I think of how hot I get just hearing a random comment from a little kid saying well “She’s just a girl she can’t do it.” How would I feel to hear people constantly telling me that I have to sit in the back, use that bathroom, saying I couldn’t be what I wanted to be? How would I feel towards them? How could I love them? Jesus talked about turning our cheek, loving our enemies… but I think it’s often hard to feel connected to that… Jesus you were the son of God, that gives you a bit of an advantage in this… But Martin Luther King Jr. he was just a man. Don’t get me wrong I’m not elevating him to higher than Jesus but he was a true example of someone who followed Jesus’s example. A man who stood in the face of ugly hate and chose love, chose peace, chose the better way. And even though my kids get that he was a true man of love and peace, they don’t really understand the world he had to live in. They get that they serve others on his birthday to celebrate his dedication to the betterment of other, his dedication to loving others, his dedication to service. They don’t see the other side though, they don’t realize what sacrifices he made to be able to serve others. They don’t get that he was surrounded by people yelling and hating on him, that he had to ask others to choose this tough way of peace and that many suffered because of it. Am I not doing Mr. King justice by keeping this side? Today at the library we read Busing Brewster. It was a random pick up by me. I was drawn to the illustrations. It was a tough book… My 6 year old made it half way through and then got upset and stopped listening. My 8-year-old wanted to finish but wouldn’t read the history part on the back. The story was about the forced busing to help end segregated schooling in the 1970s. WHAT the 1970s??? I was born in the 70s… okay granted the very end… but I had no idea that there was still segregated schools in the 70s that people would attack verbally and sometimes physically kids coming into schools. How could I be so ignorant? How can this horrible thing that happened to kids over and over again have happened in my lifetime in the United States? And it also made me realize my kids aren’t necessarily ready for all the details of this time. And I am thankful to those who write books and movies for children about this time to ease them into the full understanding.
I love what Denene Millner said in her MyBrownBaby article: Beyond MLK Day: Teaching Kids Why Martin Matters saying that our kids generation see Dr. King as a past, often not realizing that Dr. King’s words aren’t that far in the past. We are in a very different time then Dr. King lived, but I hope that my grandkids will live in a very different time than my kids live now.
Today our church had a day of service at a nursing home. We played bingo, we laughed, my kids made friends, my kids loved every minute of it. They definitely didn’t feel like they did any service, but they connected with people. We connected with people who don’t often get that opportunity, we connected with people who are in some part disenfranchised. I don’t know if I’m doing right by the amazing Dr. King, I don’t even know exactly how I can, but I know that today was a beautiful day. We felt love, shared love, and remembered a past that wasn’t always full of that love. My prayer is that they will continue to remember this man in a way that they will continue to be change in the world.