Who was Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.? A Child’s Perspective

My kids are home today and grateful for the day off of school.  I wondered what they knew about the man whose honor we are celebrating today, so I posed the following question to all four of them:

Who was Martin Luther King Jr.?

Keep in mind that my kids range in age from 6 years old to 12 and these answers are in no particular order.

Kid#1:  This question prompted a dramatic fist in the air and declaration of “I have a dream” followed by this explanation…”He was a very strong man who tried to make black people and white people the same.”

Kid#2:  “He tried to stop the African-American people and white people from fighting each other.  He wanted everyone to have equal rights and all that.”

Kid #3: “I know I learned about him in school but now I forgot.  Isn’t he the guy who kicked all the white people off the bus?”

Kid #4: “The guy who tried to convince black people to have their independence.  He started the civil rights movement to stop the backwards thinking in this country.”

While impressed with SOME of my childrens’ knowledge of this very important man’s influence on society, I was appalled that they did not know more.  I decided it was time for a little home school lesson of my own.  I could see the fear in their eyes while I searched for famous MLK quotes.  I assigned one quote to each child and asked them to tell me what they think he meant.  Think deconstruction of the quotes by a child’s mind. 

Here are the quotes I found easily thanks to Brainyquote.com. 

“In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”

“All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.”

“He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.”

 “Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. And so we must straighten our backs and work for our freedom. A man can’t ride you unless your back is bent.”

Dr King had a beautiful message and I believe it is our responsibility to make sure his message lives on through our kids.  My children had a pretty good grasp of the messages from the individual quotes and if anything, they took a moment today to acknowledge the reason for the celebration of Dr. King’s life. 

Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day!

About Orland Park Mom

Mom, writer, domestic goddess, superhero extraordinaire. Yeah, that's me.
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