Thursday, January 15, 2009

New Eyes

Ryan walked into my office and asked who Martin Luther King Jr. was. Wow! I couldn't wait to explain it to him. But to get to who MLK Jr. was there is so much to explain about our country. How do you explain "race relations" to a child who hasn't really paid attention to race? His teacher is African American and he has never once mentioned it. One of the little girls in her class wears beads in her hair. He thought it was cool. He thought our cousin was African American because she has olive skin. So hard to explain.

From MLK Jr., Lincoln and to our present day, Ryan's question provided a great teachable moment. With the Internet, I could pull up pictures and even recordings to show him who people were and what they stood for. The discussion of Martin Luther King Jr. eventually led to Barack Obama and his inauguration.

Tuesday is a very big day in our country. I am so excited for the children of our country to see OUR president, Barack Obama sworn in. I really think this changes everything. My son will never even question that a black man can be president. He thinks women can be president too and I love that. Ryan's world will be so different that mine. I can't wait to record it all on Tuesday and show it to him. I hope they show it in school and discuss it. There is so much to learn for all of us.

I have heard that Obama is encouraging people to volunteer on Monday. I love that idea and I am racking my brain to find an appropriate way to do this with my children. If you have any ideas, feel free to suggest them. I found a website (click here) that lists opportunities and encourages people to list them for others.

The conversation with Ryan will continue as it will for the people of our country. There is so much to learn about each other and race relations. It is a new day in our country and for all people in the world.

Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?'
-Martin Luther King Jr.

~ The true test of the American ideal is whether we’re able to recognize our failings and then rise together to meet the challenges of our time. Whether we allow ourselves to be shaped by events and history, or whether we act to shape them. Whether chance of birth or circumstance decides life’s big winners and losers, or whether we build a community where, at the very least, everyone has a chance to work hard, get ahead, and reach their dreams.
-Barack Obama

11 comments:

Krystyn said...

We are watching the inauguration together as a soon. Should be a great learning experience.

Anonymous said...

Here is another website I found from a video of Michelle Obama. www.usaservice.org Great idea and good luck!

MIT Mommy said...

Well said! I know our schools are watching the Inauguration in school and are encouraging the kids to wear red, white and blue to celebrate!!

As part of Andrew's project to tell his life story, we picked a picture of him as a 1yr old in front of the Lorraine Motel where Martin Luther King Jr was assassinated. Of course we couldn't possibly explain all the intricate details of history (though he knows more than I did at his age), but he at least knows that he (and all he did) was important enough to his parents that we visited the site. Sometimes, that is worth more than words.

Thanks for the post!

MIT Mommy said...

Let me know if you come up with a good service project. I'll noodle on that one.

OHmommy said...

I once heard that our children, those born now, will perhaps live out their lives in the best time to date.

I can't figure out how to say it well. Our children will live during the best time, so far. UGH. Does that make sense?

The TODAY show said it so much better. I guess that's why they are paid the big bucks.

Kerri said...

hey Indy... you might contact Stratford Commons or Emerald Ridge as possibilities for Monday... I've taken Katie to play games and the residents love it!

Anonymous said...

What I find most amazing about Obama, in addition to his steadiness, charisma, and strong leadership skills, is the fact that our kids will know him as a young 44th President and not a young, black President. Isn't is wonderful?!!

Jessica said...

Hi Indy! It is wonderful that you embraced the moment to teach your little guy instead of let "school" take it on!

I would be happy to have your little guys over (and friends too)on Monday to sort and count stuffed animals, books, decorate some tags for me and stuff a few bags for Project Night Night.

Rhea said...

What a great post, Indy! I love the idea of volunteering on Monday.

I really think we live in changing times. I love that our kids don't care about race. I mean, I don't either, but they really don't.

Im2Sexy4MyVan said...

love that you quoted MLK. i am going to savor that one this whole week...

Im2Sexy4MyVan said...

OK ... so I was so inspired with my daughter's Kindergarten class watching the inauguration on TV and having a FABULOUS lesson about MLK, Obama, Citizenship, and Fairness. However I could see her confusing MLK for Obama in her sweet little brain. Hmm. What a thought. So we came home after school and got large cookies in our hands and watched "I Have a Dream" speech on YouTube. (The speech lasts way longer than the cookie...) Then we discussed the similarities and differences of MLK and Barack. I felt like almost as good a mommy as you and MIT Mommy. xoxo

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