Remembering Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: A Conversation with our Future

How do you teach a 5 year old the importance of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.?

Sky(my daughter): Hey Mom, I want to read my new book to you.  I know you’ll like it, it’s about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Me: Sure, I Love to hear you read.  But first, tell mommy about Dr. King’s dream.

Sky: My teacher didn’t talk about his dream.

Me:  So, I talk to you all the time about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  I talk to you about his dream.  Now, what was it?

Sky:  Let me read the book first.  Then you’ll know about Dr. King.

Me: O.K.

Sky(Reading):  Martin Luther King Jr. was a Civil Rights activist.

He marched for equal rights of black Americans

Martin Luther King Jr. won a Nobel Peace Prize.

Me: That’s it?

Sky:  Yup.  Martin Luther King Jr. won a Nobel Peace Prize just like Barack Obama.

Me:  Hold up!   Wait a minute.  Who told you that? (thought I was going to have to spend more time in her classroom)

Sky:  You did.  You said Barack Obama won a Nobel Peace Prize.

Me: OK.  Let Mommy tell you the difference between Dr. King and Obama.  First, what was Dr. King’s dream?

Sky: Judge a man on his color, not his content (she paused for a moment and did her reverse dance)  I mean judge a man on the content of his character and not he color of his skin.

Me:  Yup.

Sky: But what does Civil Rights mean?

Me: Well back in the day, white and black people weren’t allowed to go to the same schools, the same swimming pools, or playgrounds. 

Sky: That’s stupid

Me:  Sure is.  But its a part of our history and as you get older, you’re going to learn more bad things about how blacks were treated in America.

Sky: But we’re not black, we’re brown

Me: Sure are.  But let me question you this, does it matter?  If our goal is to live Dr. Kings dream than does the color of our skin make a difference?

Sky:  Mom, I just wanted to read you a book.  Not have this long conversation.

Me:  Too bad.  You are going to grow up in a world where you get it from both sides.  There are white people who will hate you, just because you’re black and there are  black people who will hate you because you don’t show hate towards other races.  My job is to teach you how to navigate through with the same dignity, pride, love and preservernce as Dr. King.

Your father and I work hard to ensure you can achieve that dream.

Sky: What is prese……?

Me: it means to never stop.  You want to become a veterinarian, than you work hard to achieve that dream.  If someone tells you you’re not good enough, prove them wrong.  If someone tells you it can’t be done, do it and inspire them to follow.  If someone tells you its impossible, tell them you are the master of impossibility. 

Sky: Master of impossiblity, that sounds like a Super Hero

Me:  it does, doesn’t it.  Fly, Master of Impossibility, Fly

(Sometimes you just have to let a kid be a kid.  Maybe it’ll get easier at age 6)

Posted under Cultural,History,Personal Stories by Sonnie Johnson on Monday 18 January 2010 at 5:31 am

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