Do Kids Really Know Who Martin Luther King Was?
At the end of the school week, our teacher reminded the class that there was no school on Monday, January 19th, in honor of Martin Luther King. I was not surprised that most of the kids found the idea of no school exciting. However, I was surprised by the number of kids who had no idea who MLK was.
"Who is Martin Luther King?" they asked. "Why is he important?"
Now, I have to say that our school is a directed home school. What that means is that we spend two days studying math, science, grammar, spelling, writing, and social studies in class, and three days studying those subjects and more at home. Our teacher, who is "wonderful" according to my 4th grade granddaughter and myself, directed the kids with questions to discuss Mr. King with their parents as part of their home school history lesson.
Leaving class that day made me wonder if it could really be true that these kids did not know who Martin Luther King was or what he accomplished? Then I had to ask myself, "Does my granddaughter know?" I didn't have to wait long for the answer.
As soon as we got to the car, my granddaughter brought up the subject of Mr. King. Here is our conversation, but please know that everything she says is in terms of her favorite book, Ever After High by Shannon Hale, and the characters she has grown to love.
"How come none of the kids knew who Reverend King was, Nana? Mom taught me about him a long time ago."
"What did Mom teach you about him," I asked.
"He was a preacher who taught people that the color of your skin doesn't make you different. Just like Cedar (the daughter of Pinocchio) has brown skin and Apple White (the daughter of Snow White) has white skin. They're the same. Who cares what color their skin is? I love them both. They act different, but Mom said that's just something she called personality. She said everyone should be treated he same. I thought everyone knew that. Right, Nana? But, it was nice that Reverend King made people remember."
Out of the mouth of babes!