I love that we have a holiday in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. It's hard to teach about civil rights, peaceful protest, activism, and the Nobel Peace Prize to a two year-old, but I've been trying to at least familiarize Mayumi with this inspiring man. We've been reading March On: The Day My brother Martin Changed the World. I have to improvise on the words since the writing is geared towards older children, but Mayumi loves it and requests it every night before bed. I printed out a free coloring sheet of MLK here which she enjoyed scribbling on. And to remember and celebrate his life and cause, Mayumi and I went on a little pilgrimage around the city.
MLK portrait in the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery
The main building of the DC Public Library, the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library.
MLK Mural in the entrance of the MLK Library.
There are many things that MLK said in his speeches that I find moving and inspiring, but one that I've been thinking about for a while is his call to everyone to participate in community service. It has been echoed by President Obama and I've heard it countless times from the pulpit at church as well:
"Everybody can be great, because everybody can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve. You don't have to know about Plato and Aristotle to serve. You don't have to know Einstein's "Theory of Relativity" to serve. You don't have to know the Second Theory of Thermal Dynamics in Physics to serve. You only need a heart full of grace, a soul generated by love, and you can be that servant." (Excerpted from "The Drum Major Instinct")
That has been a challenge as a mother as I contemplate ways to serve and be active in my community, both for myself and for my family. I've been volunteering to teach a yoga class for moms on Monday mornings, I serve as a youth Sunday School teacher, and of course I serve within my family and among my small circle of friends... but I suppose there is always room for more grace and love. MLK Day can be the motivating factor in finding more ways to become involved in community service and activism. ServeNet.org is one place where you can sign up to serve in some capacity in the MLK Day of Service. The challenge, of course, is finding something appropriate to do with a child!