• Chanel Haugh

UNITY

Confession time. I wrote this blog entry on MLK day, but I hesitated to post it. Today's social landscape is dense with landmines, so sharing some of the most beautiful moments experienced in my home induces anxiety. It can unfairly place the beings I love most in harm's way or make them feel less than others. Hoping this strikes the right chord for everyone, delivering a little bit of hope and steady given the barrage of discordent headlines and opinions circulating about the news. Essentially, my child is learning about MLK at school, and having connected to MLK day through his eyes, now as a parent, I received a gift that I realized is meant for all of us. I'm hoping that we can all cling tightly to that hopeful, unifying message as social and political events entangle society, yet again, in more division.


Setting the stage. This month, my newly minted 5 year old son and I were spending time before bed to discuss his day. During our routine, I ask my kids what they liked best, did well, want more of, and/or what they can do better tomorrow. Both are free to tell me about mistakes and resulting fallout, absent judgment, so we can help troubleshoot and reinforce positive themes to support future outcomes - when they feel confident enough to try again. Relative to their young age, I encourage them to try even when they feel fearful so long as they have a trusted eye around to help them navigate if it all falls apart. (I find this caveat important, given the DNA contribution from my husband. Dave's Mom, a pacifist, endured many breathtaking moments due to her, now retired US Army Lt. Col son's strong internal drive to defeat mayhem and catalyze adventure.)


My 5 year old has been trying to memorize and recite a poem about Martin Luther King. After a few weeks of consistent study at our Montessori preschool, 2 nights before MLK day, at bedtime, he nailed it. He was so proud of himself and I was proud of him because he emphasized his favorite parts (mine too) that spoke to the importance of our character within and our collective responsibility to make freedom ring. (Our home is trying to create doers that are problem solvers, not problem makers.) This kid's heart is huge and massively loving, and of course as a boy, rough, tumble, and wide open. I love that when he speaks it, he MEANS it and I love how proudly, and confidently he recited that poem over and over. I think he understands the importance of MLK's words to a degree far greater than I was able to at his age. Below are the words to the poem from his school (author unknown to me and I can't find the source to cite), followed by my recent takeaway.


I have a Dream said Martin Luther King.

We're gonna make that dream come true.

Let freedom ring, said Martin Luther King.

It's up to me and you.


It's not the color of your skin.

It's not the color of your hair.

It doesn't matter what you wear.

It's the character within.


I have a Dream said Martin Luther King.

We're gonna make that dream come true.

Let freedom ring, said Martin Luther King.

It's up to me and you.


Now that you have context, perhaps you can see how meaningful it was for my son, who would always rather be outside playing, to be fascinated by empathy and trying his hardest to learn an MLK poem. And he's a white kid that has no sense of guilt for being white or male or anything other than not picking up his shoes when he comes in the door. I wish that for every kid.


Takeaways as a Mom experiencing MLK's words through my child's eyes: Martin Luther King Day is a call to unite on a mission for all of us regardless of race, gender, creed, socioeconomics, religion, or origin. It should resonate year round. In 2019, let's be kind, let's listen more than we speak, let's unify, and let's just all try. And of the generations that follow us, please, let's be thankful, encouraging, and invest in them, because they must balance action and empathy to tackle the serious problems, globally, that we were unable to solve. They can not be successful absent unity, a sense of history, and our guidance to inform their vision.


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