Today as the world honors the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., I sadly admit my failure to pass along the importance of his life and the meaning of his vision to my children. My failure is compounded by my privilege of growing up a bi-racial child of Baptist preachers from the South Side of Chicago who not only preached God’s word but fought for other’s freedom and liberation from poverty, social injustice and spiritual depravity.
I was also surrounded by aunts, uncles and cousins who continued the fight for equality through political endeavors, taking up the mantle of justice through voting rights, legislation and leadership. My family on all sides has been aware of and involved with living the dream and not just watching it on television, criticizing those that do or blaming others for taking chances for change. I come from a family of freedom fighters. Unfortunately, I am lazy in continuing the work of Dr. King and my family, and I am ashamed.
The kids were out of school today and they were ready to lounge around and chill. Instead of taking the day off to volunteer or attend a celebration, I worked from home and had the kids complete a crossword puzzle and color a drawing of Dr. King that we picked up from the library. Instead of encouraging them to watch the myriad televised King celebrations or read a book on Dr. King’s life, they listened to pop radio and played XBOX 360 video games. How lame! How irresponsible of me as a parent who knows better.
Yes, I am hard on myself and rightly so. When I look at the state of our world, inequality running amuck and social ills devastating many lives, I am responsible even if just for the two that I am committed to love and care for, and that is where it begins, right…at home. Home is where I learned about being a Good Samaritan, loving others, giving back and so forth. It was my parents, who through their actions and commitment showed me to care about the worlds greater good.
Our understanding of morals, principles and love come from our parents, our caregivers. If we don’t begin to live the dream for our children, with our children and through our children, they will not carry on the good that was started so long ago. That good that opened doors for freedoms today, that sadly many of us are ignorant of and have no conscience of the work done that allows us to live better lives today. But the fight for equality is not won.
So I resolve to not let this be a repeatable offense but a lesson learned. It’s never too late to make a change. I resolve to show my children that living the dream, continuing the legacy is every day, not just on Dr. King’s birthday that we celebrate in January but in every way, we pass it on, stand up for injustice, speak out against wrong, great or small and keep moving forward.
So it goes…