This post is part of the Martin Luther King Day for Kids series from Multicultural Kid Blogs (see details below).
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With Martin Luther King Day approaching, I thought it was a good idea to introduce Monkey to the legacy of Dr. King and the lessons we can draw from his life. While we often talk about love and unity and how to celebrate diversity, because of Monkey’s age we had not really touched on racism and its painful history (and ongoing legacy) in our country.
So I wasn’t quite sure how he would react to learning about segregation and the long, terrible struggle against it.
Turns out he responded as a five year old will: he created a superhero.
We started off by reading the wonderful picture book Martin’s Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. It tells the story of Martin Luther King Jr and segregation, emphasizing Dr. King’s use of big words rather than fists to solve problems and fight injustice.
As we went, we wrote down some of Dr. King’s big words, like peace, hope, and together.
We also talked about segregation, and I tried to make it comprehensible to him by talking about what it would be like if we went to a restaurant and they wouldn’t let Daddy in because his skin was dark? Or what if we went to the park and they wouldn’t let us play because we spoke Spanish? After a while, the examples got a little silly: What if we couldn’t go to the movies because we had three heads? What if aliens took over the earth and put “ALIENS ONLY” signs in all the stores?
We talked about how Dr. King had love towards everyone despite all of the terrible things that people did.
Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that. – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Again, I tried to put this in a context he could relate to. If someone is being mean to him at the park, how should he respond? Should he be mean back or try to be friends instead? We even tried to brainstorm the kinds of things he could say.
We also talked about how Dr. King had courage to do the right thing, even if it was scary. Sometimes it can be hard to stand up to someone who is being mean or doing something wrong, but we have to have courage.
It was around this time that Monkey began doodling, and his doodles soon took the form of a superhero: Super Heart. Super Heart is small but powerful, and he eats bad words like war, separate, and hate. He even eats “Whites Only” signs. He uses words and love to solve problems.
When I shared this photo on Instagram, my friend Aimee of Raising World Citizens said she wished Super Heart were real. Monkey immediately responded that Super Heart is real – and there is one in every home! She checked – and it was true! There was a Super Heart in her home as well.
If you look, I guarantee you will find a Super Heart in your home, too. In fact, all you have to do is look closely, and you can find a Super Heart inside everyone who has the courage to choose love.
Love is the key to the solution of the problems of the world. – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
This post is part of the series Martin Luther King Day for Kids from Multicultural Kid Blogs. Come learn with us this month as we share resources to teach kids about Civil Rights and community service! You can link up your own posts on our main page or find even more resources on our Black History and Teaching Global Citizenship Pinterest boards.