Today, as you know, was Martin Luther King Jr. day. I decided we should definitely incorporate the significance of this day into our lesson plans. After arriving back home from a dentist appointment, we had some breakfast and dove right in. We were first to watch the “I Have A Dream Speech.” I got it all pulled up on the television, and my 10 year old son noticed the time bar at the bottom. “It’s 17 minutes long??” He was less than thrilled, which made his 7 year old sister roll her eyes and sigh. I pushed play, and told them we should watch at least the first minute or two before we fast forward to the I have a dream ending. (This was already turning into a disaster, and NOT going according to plan).
About two minutes into it, I glance over at my kids, and they are wide eyed staring at the t.v. They are completely engrossed in the speech! Before I knew it, we were at the I have a dream part, and my son says, “Wow! That was 17 minutes? It went so fast!” I was then bombarded with several questions from them both about what lead up to this speech, why were they treated different, and who cares about skin color anyway? We ended up watching a documentary, and two other mini clips, that provided us with more information. We discussed Rosa Parks, Mr. King’s assassination, smilarities with Abe Lincoln, and how we felt Martin Luther King Jr. changed history.
The most touching moment for me, was when my two children were discussing with each other about how they couldn’t understand why people hated others based on the color of their skin. My daughter said to my son, “What if people hated us, just because we are white?” To which my son said, “Well that wouldn’t be fair. Just like it wasn’t fair to hate just because they were black.” My daughter sat staring at her worksheet for a while (they had to make their own dreams for change), and then she said, “Well, I would have let Rosa Parks sit up front next to me.” I got teary eyed, and just smiled. I really had no words, as I was so impressed with how they both grasped the lesson today, at their young ages. We ended up spending a little over two hours discussing it all today. I learned, too. I realized children are the most innocent, most perceptive, most big hearted of humans. Children do not see in black and white, they see humans for humans. Something that even the most educated of people tend to let go to the wayside.