Today is one of those beautiful days in history that you learn about your whole life but never fully understand the impact of the lesson. Growing up we were thrilled to have the day off of school and that was enough. We understood the general meaning of why we were celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr., but we were too immature to fully appreciate the impact this man had and would have on our lives.
It took a bit of growing up and really learning about Martin Luther King‘s legacy to grasp what he wanted for mankind. What he wanted for me, my family, my friends and our future. He taught of love, peace and rights for everyone. Yes, he definitely fought for African-American equality, but his reach was far beyond one color.
He saw and dreamt of a world where hatred, abuse and inequality were non-existent. He wanted to eradicate poverty; mainly because with a poor life comes a poor attitude and that was unacceptable to a man that felt possibilities were endless. He was a proud man that was taken way too soon to correct alot of the wrongs we still have around today.
Now that I’m grown and doing my best to teach my daughter the goodness in this world, it’s no surprise that we’ve discussed Dr. King. Our conversation usually starts with what he meant to African-Americans and I struggle to explain how my life has also been touched. I’ve been blessed and never felt discriminated against or had to wonder if I’d eat tomorrow. I don’t recall my parents or even grandparents talking about feeling unloved just because.
I try to explain that even though I wasn’t born when Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke to the world, his ideals resonate with me. As a helicopter parent, I would give anything to “save this world”. I want my daughter to be friends with anyone she chooses, to be kind to people that are different than she is and to truly think about loving others as she would her own family.
Thankfully, Beloved is the type of kid that already lives Dr. King’s premise of equality, non-violence and hope. She believes, as do her parents, that we can accomplish all he dreamed of. She hasn’t been jaded by “can’t…won’t…don’t want to”; she just loves. Yes, we all have a lot of work to still do but we can try each day.
We teach her the lessons that will make life better for all people in a manner that’s pertinent to our life now. We’re kind to others. We offer assistance when it’s needed. We buy food for the homeless man on the corner. We provide our used clothing to others less fortunate so they may be warm. We don’t see color, race, or religion. Okay, we may see it, but we’re not affected by it. We’re not paralyzed by different. We try to live the lessons that Dr. King wanted us to, even 46 years past his death.
While Martin Luther King Jr.’s words were often quoted and most everyone can remember his “I have a dream” speech; one of my favorite speeches he gave was his Where do we go from here address to the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in Atlanta 1967.
He spoke about love and power and his choice on the matter. The words that have stuck with me are:
Beautiful and poignant words that are still relevant today. Just think what changes could come about if everyone believed like he did? You can start honoring his legacy by giving back. If you visit the MLK Day website, you can find out what service related projects your city has throughout the week. These projects are focused on serving your local neighbors and communities. I searched my zip code and found projects ranging from clothing donations and feeding the hungry to donating your time visiting an elderly shut-in’s home.
What better way to honor Martin Luther King, Jr.’s memory by offering your time and dedication to a local cause? If you find yourself with a little extra free time (and I know how hard that is), plan to make a difference in someone else’s life.
In other words, decide to LOVE.
Hovering high and low, Helicopter Mom and Just Plane Dad