I’ve been thinking about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. today, as we observe his birthday. I spoke with a friend recently who marched with him. At the time, my friend was an 11 year old boy. I cried as he told the story of how Dr. King took a rock to the head from an angry onlooker, but kept marching.
Our kids love who we love. They’ll hate who we hate. Dr. King’s dream did not die with him. His death will not be in vain. It’s up to US. We must love better. We must do better.
I remembered a first grade teacher showing my class Dr. King’s famous speech. My boys are not much younger than I was when I heard it the first time. I pulled it up on YouTube this morning and shared it with them. I was ok until my son asked “why did they kill this nice man?”. Tears fell. I tried to explain it, and to my delight – my kids did not understand why this good man was killed. The idea of someone being hated because of their skin color is so foreign to them. In large part because they’re white – and that is not a pain they’ll experience in this life. I know the term “white privilege” offends some white people, but we cannot deny that our brothers and sisters of color experience more hatred and discrimination than we ever will. We must stand with them and stand up for them – because that is what love has called us to.
I tell my boys things like “no means no” and when a girl says no- you stop whatever it is you’re doing. I tell them their hands were not made to hurt others, but to lift others up. I tell them they are called to be protectors. God, help me to raise my boys to be better at love that I am.