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.
The Open Road
4 years ago