“Dad, have you ever heard of Martin Luther King?”
I smiled and stopped sweeping the kitchen to look up at my second-born son, seven-year-old Elihu.
“Yes, son. I’ve heard of him.”
He repositioned the third-grade spelling book in his hands to get a better grip on it.
“Well I was just reading all about Martin Luther King, and I like his dream.”
His brow furrowed as he spoke in a way that’s very characteristic of him.
“Oh really?” I asked. “What do you like about his dream?”
“I like that he talked about judging people based on what they do and not on the color of their skin.”
I went back to sweeping as he continued explaining, unable to keep the smile on my face from getting bigger. Then the thought occurred to me.
“Did you read that speech?” I asked.
Nodding, he replied that he had and held up his spelling book to show the short summary and quote on the page for today’s lesson. That confirmed my suspicion.
“No, son. That’s just a little bit of it. Would you like to read the full speech?”
I asked, hoping to encourage his interest. Lauren and I look for opportunities like this. When our children become curious about a subject on their own we try to encourage them to dig deeper and learn more. Times like this are when they’re likely to pay the most attention, and indulging their curiosity in a positive way encourages them to continue being curious in the future. This is, after all, part of why we homeschool.
Eli followed me as I walked into our living room. There, flanking our entertainment center and TV, are two tall bookshelves full of books. Scanning them for the big one full of famous speeches from world history, remembering that the full text of MLK’s I Have a Dream speech is found there, I suddenly stopped and instead reached into my pants pocket for my iPhone.
“Actually, we could just watch the speech.”
So we sat down on the couch and I did a quick search on YouTube. There it was! As it started to play, Eli’s brothers – Josiah and Solomon – joined us on the couch to watch.
Once the speech was over, my oldest son, Josiah asked me very sweetly.
“Dad, did he win?”
That is a great question, son.
What do you think MLK would say of race relations and rhetoric in America today?