A Dream Deferred? Teaching the Principles of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to Young Children
On Friday afternoon, a few of my Lower School friends stop by my office “to chat.” During the course of the conversation, a friend asked about my plans for the weekend. I told my visitors that I didn’t have any major plans this weekend other than catching up on some reading and helping a neighbor clean her attic. It was clear my plans didn’t seem very interesting to my guest however they were polite when telling me how much fun I was going to have “cleaning someone else’s stuff.” The conversation went on this way until I was asked why I was spending my time cleaning someone else’s attic.
As one who looks for teachable moments in everything, I can’t tell you how excited I was to be able to reinforce the importance of giving back to one’s community much the same way that we talk about the importance of strengthening our school community each time that we pick up in our classrooms after we’ve completed a task, disposing of trash in the proper way in the dining room, or taking care of our desks and chairs so that the next person can use them. Ultimately, this small moment allowed me to reinforce not only the importance of service to one’s community but it also gave me an opportunity to discuss the cornerstone values of responsibility and compassion for others with my students.
Given the political climate, we are all living in today, this year’s national day of service to honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is even more important to me than any other year. Like Dr. King, I hope we can all be inspired to understand and embrace the “other” and embrace differences all while emphasizing love and non-violence in our actions. Ultimately, I hope we can all continue to encourage young children to use Dr. King’s principles to strengthen their communities the way that Dr. King encouraged a generation of people through his life and work.
You can learn more about the National Day of Service as well as find local and national projects taking place today, Monday, January 21, on the official website.