Monday, January 20, 2014

To Dream, to Serve, and to Teach

50 years ago, while speaking to 250,000 Civil Rights supporters on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, Martin Luther King Jr. made history.

"I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged on the color of their skin but on the content of their character." 

I dream the same dream for my children. I hope and pray they will always be evaluated by their words and actions, and that they in turn will always use words and actions to form opinions of others.

But I will also teach my children that while judging others according to skin color, religion, or sexuality can only hurt, recognizing the ways in which we differ from one another can actually unify us. We are all unique individuals, capable of contributing - albeit in very different ways - to the betterment of society. We are all worthy and deserving of respect and kindness from our fellow human beings, and our differences should be celebrated instead of ignored, or worse, used to justify discrimination.

Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day, my friends. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your unique and fascinating lives; your cultures, languages, religions, perspectives, lifestyles, and experiences have broadened my horizons and helped me become a more open-minded and compassionate person, and I hope to pass those characteristics along to my children.

MLK Jr. Day is considered a National Day of Service. If you have younger (preschool-aged) children, check out a few of the activities I compiled last year - word searches, coloring pages, and making paper peace doves and dream catchers - to help them begin to connect with this important service day.

MLK Jr. Day also marks the beginning of Youth Preparedness Week. If you have older (elementary- through high school-aged) children, visit the Red Cross blog for my suggestions on how youth and young adults can spend today - and the remainder of Youth Preparedness Week - serving and supporting their community's preparedness efforts.

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