Happy MLK Day!
Every year, Martin Luther King Jr. is celebrated on the third Monday in January.
Growing up, I knew the basics of MLK. I also knew it was a day I got off from school. But as I grew older in age and wisdom I have come to really appreciate Dr. King and all he did for our country. I’ve read The Autobiography of Matin Luther King Jr. and really admire his desire for peaceful change.
I have traveled to over 32 countries and lived in Cape Town, South Africa. I have seen a world divided with segregation, violence and ever widening economic inequality. But Dr. King believed that the Kingdom of Jesus could reach into and reconcile the most divisive and violent spaces.
“Blessed are the peacemakers”
While Carsen is 5-years-old, I want to be intentional as I teach him the peace-crafting power of the Kingdom.
I do not want Carsen to grow up “colorblind”, but rather celebrate our differences (whether racial, cultural, gender, economic, religious, etc.) knowing that God himself created each and every one of us for a purpose, and that we really are better together.
Books for your littles:
Age 2-5: The Story of Martin Luther King Jr. Board Book by Johnny Ray Moore. This little book tells the story of Martin Luther King Jr. in a way that even very young children will understand. This simple but accurate account of his life begins with King’s childhood, making it easy for little ones to relate to his story. Children will learn that he excelled in school, became a minister, and worked to end segregation in America. This book, with only about 200 words accompanied by delicate watercolors, is a great way for parents to begin to teach their children about this inspirational historical figure.
Age 5-8: We LOVE the Ordinary People Change the World series by Brad Meltzer. I Am Martin Luther King Jr. is great for 5-8 year olds. You can listen to it being read out loud and follow to pages on Grammy’s Book Nook on YouTube.
Ages 6-9: Let The Children March by Monica Clark-Robinson. In 1963 Birmingham, Alabama, thousands of African American children volunteered to march for their civil rights after hearing Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. speak. They protested the laws that kept black people separate from white people. Facing fear, hate, and danger, these children used their voices to change the world. Frank Morrison’s emotive oil-on-canvas paintings bring this historical event to life, while Monica Clark-Robinson’s moving and poetic words document this remarkable time.
Ages 9-12: Memphis, Martin, and the Mountain Top by Alic Faye Duncan. This historical fiction picture book presents the story of nine-year-old Lorraine Jackson, who in 1968 witnessed the Memphis sanitation strike–Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s final stand for justice before his assassination–when her father, a sanitation worker, participated in the protest
A few vocabulary words I will continue to discuss with Carsen:
Racism – the belief that members of one race are better to members of other races
Peaceful Protest – Showing disapproval of something through action without violence.
Civil Rights – Basic rights that every citizen has under the laws of the government
Boycott – A group”s refusal to buy or use something to protest against
Equality – Essentially equal or the same in value
Discriminate – Unfair treatment of one particular person or group of people.
A fun activity to show diversity:
You will need a white and brown egg
Ask toddler and discuss: What is the main difference in these two eggs?
Do you think the brown egg is brown on the inside or the white is white on the inside?
Crack both eggs open.
Ask toddler and discuss: Are they different on the inside?
***One of the best pieces of advice that I have received from parents that have gone before me, was don’t skirt through the tough issues. If our kids come to us with questions on racism, religion, sex, don’t avoid the tough conversations. We just need to use age-appropriate language and discuss the issues with openness and honesty.
How have you addressed different cultural perspectives with your kids?