“If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way.” - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Each January, we celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King in our schools and communities, and remember his inspiring words, which echoed from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and through a crowd of 250,000 during the March on Washington.
Dr. King dreamed of brotherhood, justice, equality, and dreamed that one day, we would all be free. He sought peace and dedicated his whole life to pursuing it.
Teaching our children about PEACE is a great way to honor the memory of Dr. King. However, children must be taught about the hard work and determination needed to achieve peace.
Dr. King did not accomplish his work quickly, or easily. He struggled, he was rejected by others, and he was faced with opposition time and time again.
It is easy to associate peace with quiet or calm, when in fact, it is just the opposite. In order to create peace, you have to be bold and courageous!
Dr. King was more than a bystander. He knew that remaining silent in the face of injustice was just as harmful as the outright support of inequality or discrimination.
To honor Dr. King, we can teach our children to stand up and speak up in the face of unfair treatment. We can support our children by teaching them skills to advocate for themselves, but also for others, especially those who may not be able to advocate for themselves.
We can teach our children to hope and dream. Dream BIG. Our children may have small hands and small feet, but their potential is immense. Anything they can do, can be done in a great way. That’s all that matters.
Finally, we can ask our children about their dreams: “What are your dreams for peace?” I imagine they are bright and colorful and filled with themes of love and equality.
One of my favorite young dreamers is Kid President. If you haven't seen one of his many YouTube videos already, he is definitely worth watching! This 9-year-old has created a phenomenon of encouragement and inspiration. He gives young people a voice and ideas to change the world! Since becoming Kid President, he has had the opportunity to meet singers, actors, and even President Barack Obama. Kid President shares his Dream:
Below is a short biography about 9-year-old Robby. He has already overcome some significant challenges in his life:
You can watch more of his videos, follow the blog, and read more about Kid President at:
I also came across a story about a group of fifth grade students from Massachusetts who turned an after-school enrichment club into a larger-than-life demonstration of peace. In 2004, these students set a goal: to make the biggest book in the world about peace. The students sent thousands of letters to people around the world, asking for their responses to the following questions:
-What is world peace?
-Will there ever be world peace?
-Where would you like to see the world in 20 years?
The students received more than 3,000 responses from teachers, veterans, politicians, and even famous visionaries such as Nelson Mandela, the Dalai Lama, and former President Jimmy Carter. Their story is inspiring. You can read more about these peace-seeking students and how their work has influenced their plans for the future:
Dr. King’s work is never finished. And the work of future generations is just beginning.