Monday, January 16, 2012

Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day!

I love this day, it's very special to me. I grew up in the 60's and 70's full of righteous indignation about how human beings treated each other. I remember watching the news on TV, the marches, the riots, the peaceful protesters being beaten, tear gassed, and pressure hosed because they were black. Children often know intuitively what is right and what is wrong, and I knew that was wrong.

Have you seen the movie, The Help?  It would be a good movie to watch with your
kids today, to help them understand the sadness and injustice of prejudice. I could have been Mae, the little white girl in the movie that Aibileen took care of, because that's how old I was (2 to 5 years) during the time period of the story. My parents didn't hire maids and they weren't racists, so I didn't have that kind of experience. However, my mother did hire a live-in babysitter for a few years so I know what it's like for young children to love their caretaker.

More than that though, it's a good historical movie because it relates the facts in a very human way. My teenage son made this comment about the behavior and attitudes that were portrayed, "That's so stupid, why would people act like that?" I said, "Because people had concepts, wrong attitudes, beliefs and behaviors that were passed down from generation to generation. Slavery was a culture and lifestyle that reluctantly progressed into barely paid servitude because laws are not enough to make people change. Real change happens when our hearts and minds change, and often it takes courageous people to lead the way."

Our children have grown up in a multi-cultural community (thank God). However we still live in a world where all kinds of prejudice exists. Wars are being waged over religious prejudice, one of the most difficult kinds of prejudice to eradicate. We have to teach our children better so that their future, and the future of their children, will be better.

During my older kid's middle & high school years they were involved with an organization called Service For Peace. With this organization they participated in service projects on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and during the summer. The motto of this organization comes from a quote by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., "Everybody can be great, because everybody can serve."

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