What should you tell your children on Martin Luther King Day?
What do you think your kids know about their day off on Martin Luther King Jr Day?
Most kids know this much information:
- Martin Luther King Jr Had A Dream
- That He Was Shot And Killed
- He Fought For Civil Rights and Equality
- We Have A Holiday That Celebrates His Birthday and This Achievement
So how can you as a parent, educate your kids about the great Martin Luther King Jr?
And how can you help them understand history?
Also that this was not very long ago, and that history as we know, dares repeating?
Help Children Understand The Legacy
The Civil Rights Movement, in all its importance is a social lesson for children. How well do they treat their classmates, or other children in the playground? What should you tell your children about Martin Luther King?
Moreover, to understand Civil Rights, a child must learn that everyone should be treated equally.
And that you should never judge someone by “the color of their skin”. It is the “content of their behavior” that matters.
And it is the content of your child’s behavior that they will rightfully be accountable for.
Speaking out for what is right and what is just. Not resorting to violence is a strong message that Martin Luther King Jr delivered to us. This is the core message that you should deliver to your children.
Explaining The Strength Of Character
It is important to recognize that your child will likely be given this day off school at a young age. And without fully understanding the differences between races and color. Telling your children about Martin Luther King will help them appreciate this day off.
So when they start asking questions during their younger years, you can explain to them the character of Martin Luther King Jr.
That because of his protests and actions, your child gets to go to school with all of their friends. Not just some of them.
As children go into elementary school they will learn about his suffering. Additionally, they should understand these historical points;
He Led The 1955 Montgomery Bus Boycott
The Bus Boycott began shortly after Rosa Parks was arrested on Dec 1, 1955.
And it lasted 13 months, ultimately ending with the Supreme Court ruling segregation to be unconstitutional.
The Birmingham Campaign
He helped organize the 1963 nonviolent protests in Birmingham, Alabama. Comprised of mass meetings, lunch counter sit-ins, a march in at city hall and a boycott of downtown merchants, The Birmingham Campaign lasted over a month.
On May 10th 1963 an agreement with Birmingham passed. Which desegregated lunch counters, restrooms, drinking fountains, and store dressing rooms.
March On Washington
Martin Luther King Jr. helped organize the 1963 March on Washington where he delivered the famous, “I Have A Dream” speech.
A Nobel Peace Prize Winner
Martin Luther King Jr. received the Nobel Peace Prize for combating racial inequality through non violent resistance.
The Selma to Montgomery Marches in 1965
On March 25th 1965, Martin Luther King Jr led thousands of Non Violent demonstrators to the capital in Montgomery, Alabama. This was a 5 days 54 mile march. The non violent protests turned violent. The outrage grew louder. With many people injured. The protests worked and the Voter Rights Act was presented on August 6th 1965 by President Johnson.
Martin Luther King Jr noted that Montgomery led to the Civil Rights Act, Birmingham inspired the Civil Rights Act, and that Selma produced voting rights legislation.
Educate Your Kids
There are many resources online that you can go to that go beyond the classroom. And it is through education, that we can honor his death, celebrate his life, and respect our future selves through our children.
Celebrate an optimistic future with your children and educate them.
Lead By Example
The best way to teach our children and improve our own character in this world is to do. And not just say how we feel about equal rights for all. Learning compassion for others is something that we need to nurture in our children.
Don’t just take the Monday off, try doing something positive with it.
Show your children how they can support advocacy, and activism. Perhaps through volunteering, or attending services that honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.