When it comes to teaching our kids Civil Rights history, I’ve seemed to have done most of it so far. So I was amused when I overheard a conversation about MLK Day between my white husband and our biracial daughter.
He says: You need to start getting ready for bed, you have school tomorrow.
She says: No I don’t! It’s Martin Looser King Day!
He says: It’s what?
She says: [hesitating to get it right] Martin Luther King Day!
He says: Who was what?
She says: Martin Luther King Jr.
He says: No, I mean what did he do.
She says: He helped make the world a better place. He helped everyone to get a long, and to be more fair.
He says: Oh yea?
She says: Yea, because there were signs that said only brown people.–No, I mean only white people could go in. So we couldn’t go in. Only YOU.
He says [after peering an impressive smirk my direction]: Yea, and that wasn’t fair was it?
She says: NO
I think my husband handled the sudden jab well, considering. To be honest I didn’t even really know that she put it all together as well as she had. We talked a lot about Martin Luther King Jr Day last year, and continued to read some books about him (we like this one) now and then through the year, but I’m so impressed that she still remembers, and even asked about eating “Peace Pie” again–A tradition we started last year decorating an apple pie and an excuse to eat dessert.
I think it’s important we talk about these topics at an age-appropriate level to help our kids know what our country has been through, how people have–and continue– to change, hopefully for the better.
Today we will definitely be reading more stories, having more discussions, and sharing our thoughts on the holiday. We may even work on a craft like we did last year. But most of all we’re enjoying extra time together off of work and out of school, and grateful for the people who worked so hard so that our family can even exist as we do today.