We were merrily passing through the day when it occurred to me that I should be doing something more than directing activities, interrupting melees, and wiping counters, butts and tears. I looked up a video of the I Have a Dream speech and proceeded to watch it with the girls on my laptop. Being that it was 16 minutes long, there were many questions, moments of refocusing and non-sequitors.
I was as unflinching with my answers as they were with their questions. There were things that went over their heads, but when they heard him speak of his “four little children” they looked at me with hunger.
“He had children?”
“He was a dad?”
“Why did they put a shot in a guy with kids?”
I began to explain the meaning of the words that followed, “…where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” My voice shook as I looked at those three little faces, they wanted to understand, needed to know how it could happen. I avoided dwelling on the tragedy and instead focused on the aspiration of his words and the opportunity they give all of us to change the world.
“So if you don’t like someone you need to turn your mouth off and say in your head, ‘I like that person’ is that right?”
I gingerly explained that we don’t have to like every single person, that it’s human to have people rub you the wrong way, but that it’s about waiting to decide until we know more and then, once we make a decision, to understand that we all still deserve and are worthy of kindness.
I suppose the subject matter was a little heavy for them, but I think it was the right thing to do. I am proud of them, proud of me and proud of all of the people taking a moment today—
a moment to reflect
a moment to consider
a moment to remember that we should be mindful every day, not just on long weekends.
I won’t gild the lily, here they are watching.
Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day.