Teach Your Children About Martin Luther King, Jr.

By | January 13, 2020

Monday, January 20, there will be no school as we celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. At Diven, your child will have learned about the concept of discrimination and equality and the messages of peace and tolerance Dr. King shared, but we encourage all our families to take this day to teach their children about these concepts, too. When the school and home share the same message, it tends to stick.

Of course, the concept of discrimination and equality can be hard for young children to grasp. So, here are some ways you can share the life and hopes of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with your child (from BrightHubEducation.com):

  • Read My Brother, Martin by Christine King Farris – This book talks about Dr. King’s childhood, and the lesson is that he was a normal kid who did normal things and grew up to do great things and make a big difference in the world. He saw things that weren’t fair and decided to change them! Ask your child to think about how they look different from their friends and even their family members in some ways (or many ways). Ask how they like to be treated. Explain that everyone looks different, but we all have the same basic needs for love, acceptance, and safety.
  • Ask your child if they know what discrimination is. It’s treating someone differently because they are not like you. Dr. King was trying to end discrimination based on the color of someone’s skin. Some people also treat others differently if they don’t have the same gender, religion, intelligence, or abilities. Is that fair?
  • Is it discrimination:
    • You can’t play with us! You’re a girl! (yes)
    • You can’t play with us because it’s a 4-player game, and we already have 4 players. (no)
    • My mom says I can’t play with you because you don’t go to church. (yes)
    • My mom says I can’t play with you because I have to do my homework. (no)
  • Read March On! The Day My Brother Martin Changed the World by Christine King Farris – This book is about Dr. King’s adult accomplishments. After reading it, talk about what Dr. King did to try and end racial discrimination.
  • Tell your children about his “I Have a Dream” speech. Dr. King was also a father and wanted his children to grow up in a world where they would not be judged by their skin color, but by their character.

While Dr. King’s actions did help make life better for his children, racism still exists today, even in our town. Elmira has few black homeowners, few black business owners, and black families in Elmira make less than half of what white families make. But it doesn’t have to be this way! Educate and advocate!