Monday, January 16, 2012

Mommy Monday: Bringing Dr. King's Words Home

Last Thursday when I picked up my five-year-old from school, she had a lot on her mind.  

"Did you know that one time people who had skin like daddy's couldn't drink from the bubbler?  But people with skin like yours could?"

I considered asking her which group she might have been placed into -  but decided to leave that question for the future.  Thus, I let her continue.

"Well, a man named Doctor Martin Luther King Junior told everybody that wasn't fair.  And somebody shot him, Mom! With a gun!"

She continued telling me what she had learned in school until we got home.  I wanted to teach her more – and while her interest was piqued.  Especially since the topic of race has come up several times since our last family visit abroad when my daughter experienced being the only mixed child in an entire school.

Our daughter already knows that treating every single person with respect and honor is right.  But she's just beginning to learn that the outside world hasn't always (and still doesn't) worked the way things do in our household.  Scary territory for a mother...
 
Luckily, I've always got books on hand and a steadfast desire to shape my children into beautiful and strong human beings.  So I pulled out Kadir Nelson's books We are the Ship and Heart And Soul.  I also took out Our Children Can Soar - figuring that now, these and other books would have more meaning to my daughter since she had a context to fit them into. 



Today, my daughter is off celebrating Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday at school.  While I know she'll have many more questions to ask for years to come, it is days like these – and books like these – which allow the most important lessons to be learned:  love, peace, justice, freedom and humanity.  

And those lessons are always welcome in my household.

Happy Birthday, Dr. King!

7 comments:

Stacy S. Jensen said...

Sometimes, as I'm so busy trying to teach my son to simply share, I forget about all the lessons ahead. The books you mention sound very nice. I'm keeping a list of ones to share with my son now and as he grows a bit.

booksavors said...

My boys love baseball,and I love historical narrative. I love the book, We Are the Ship. Each story is so powerful and illustrations are superb. I'm glad to have learned of your blog through the Comment Challenge. :)MaryHelen

Amy LV said...

What a wise mother and lucky daughter. We love WE ARE THE SHIP over at our home too. Thank you for introducing me to the others. Did you see the Birthday Party Challenge? I just read it on a blog (forgot which one!) For this, you promise to give multicultural books to children you love for a year of holidays... They are developing a list of great titles. a.

Susanna Leonard Hill said...

It would be wonderful if we reached a time when discrimination was a thing of the past and everyone was able to think as Dr. King did. Meanwhile, it's wonderful to have books like these to help make learning and understanding easier. Thanks for this thoughtful post.

Bill Kirk said...

Well said, Miranda. I stopped by your blog during the Comment Challenge and this was an excellent day to visit. Thanks for sharing your daughter's lesson.

Blessy Mathew said...

I'm so glad I stopped by your blog. Past issues regarding racial tension can be a tough topic for children to grasp, however, books are a great way to open the doors for understanding and tolerance. Have you read MARTIN'S BIG WORDS: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by Doreen Rappaport? Another picture book, MOSES: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom by Carole Boston Weatherford, is a favorite of mine. Thanks for sharing this post!

Miranda "Sibo" Paul said...

Thank you all, for the great comments and additional suggestions! I've been offline (writing!) so I didn't get the chance to read all of your responses right away.

Now that I'm back, though, I've got a lot of blog-reading to do!

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