January 16, 2012 by Amy G.
Happy Martin Luther King Jr. day!!!
As a mom I’m always looking for ways to teach my kiddos about things that are important to me. We’re a multi-racial family so this holiday is particularly important to us, but really, who are civil rights NOT important to? In the hopes that this doesn’t just become a “no school day” in your home I have a few ideas for you to make sure the significance of today doesn’t pass unnoticed.
#1- You don’t have the words? Get them from someone else!-Sometimes it’s hard to express how you feel about something on a level that your child will understand. Getting children’s books at the library about civil rights is an easy accessible way to teach and open up conversation. Just don’t go to my library because I think we’ve checked out everything on the subject right now.
#2-It’s all about YOU!-If your kids are too young or just unable to understand racism, relate it to something they do understand. Most kids understand bullying, so you might start there. If your family isn’t of African-American heritage you may have another experience in your family or family history where civil rights have been compromised based on race, religion, ethnicity or hmmm, do you have any women in your family (ha ha)? Talk to your family about women suffrage. Whatever it takes, relate it to them and then bring it back to what Martin Luther King Jr. day is all about.
#3-Have your kids talk to Grandma and Grandpa -While things are NOT perfect yet, they’re undoubtedly better than they used to be. Have the kids ask a grandparent or an older neighbor or friend what changes they have seen in their lifetime and about how things used to be. We can all use a reminder, right?
#4- See the sites- In almost every town or city there are historical sites that the city prides itself on that has to do with the progress of civil rights in the area. Go to them! Make it real and tangible for your family. There are often activities and discussions about diversity at local universities for people of all ages. Make a call and see what’s available to you.
#5- JUST TALK!- Most kids have had some kind of instruction from their teachers about human rights, civil rights, Martin Luther King Jr. or other important people involved in the civil rights movement, but have they heard it from you? Unless they have it may just be another piece of info that they file away or dismiss. Hearing that it’s important to you and that it applies today, not just a long time ago (in their brains) might make all the difference.
Because of amazing, courageous people my family can be a family,
and these two sweet snow bunnies can be best friends.
I’m so grateful. Let’s spread the word!
Happy, happy, HAPPY Martin Luther King Jr. Day!