Martin Luther King, Jr.: A Conversation with my kids

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that."

-Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Photo by  Clay Banks  on  Unsplash

Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash

In honor of Martin Luther King, a conversation with my boys over breakfast this morning:

Me: Today's a special day! Who knows why?

3 year old: No school!

Me: But why is there no school?

6 year old: Martin Luther King

Me: Who can tell me why he was special?

6 year old: I know! We read a book about him at school. Because he helped us be friends with each other.

Me: Yeah, he was really special. Because before him, lots of people thought they could only be friends if their skin was the same color. And kids with brown skin and kids with lighter skin couldn't go to the same school. Pretty weird, and sad, huh?

6 year old: And people like us with lighter skin had it easier than people with brown skin.

Me: Yeah, people with brown skin were hurt a lot and sometimes the grown ups couldn't have good jobs and it was harder to get food for their kids. It was really awful.

6 year old: There was an old lady who wanted to sit on the front of the bus even though she wasn't supposed to.

Me: Yes, the rules said she couldn't.

6 year old: But she did anyway and she got arrested. If I were her I would have punched the bad guys in the face. I would have gotten a punching ape and had the ape punch everybody in the face.

Me: But that's what made Martin Luther King and his friends so special. They loved Jesus and believed that punching and fighting weren't the ways to change things. They believed it was braver and smarter to change people's minds without hurting them.

6 year old: I still would've punched them.

3 year old is still listening

Me: Martin Luther King gave an important speech once. August, do you remember what he said?

6 year old: He said, Don't punch each other!

Me: Actually he said, I have a dream that one day little kids with light skin and little kids with brown skin will play together.

3 year old: And now they do.

6 year old: Yeah, they do.

Me: They do. And there's still a lot to make better in the world, so everybody can play together. I hope you guys will be brave like Martin Luther King and make the world better for everybody.

6 year old: I will make punching apes!

The conversation kind of dissolves from here...