When I think about the kind of people I want my children to be, I think about the world’s dreamers, and the world’s doers. I think about men and women like Martin Luther King Jr.
Do I want my children to dream for a better tomorrow? Absolutely. Do I long for their hearts to be filled with compassion and love? Of course. I want my kids to dream big. I want them to long for a brighter, kinder, peace-filled world. But I don’t want it to stop there.
Martin Luther King Jr. did more than dream. He didn’t just have an idea – he took action. He did something. He said something.
My fifth grader and I sat down with an activity from education.com. The activity included a link to a separate worksheet which included excerpts from Dr. King’s infamous “I Have a Dream” speech. After we read through parts of the speech together, we started to talk about what Henry’s dreams for the world were.
I asked him questions like:
- What problems do you see in the world around you that you’d like to change?
- What do you think people need more of?
- What is something that would make life better for people?
I really wanted to encourage Henry to come up with multiple ideas….ideas both big and small. When I first presented the activity to Henry, he was a little overwhelmed. He like so many of us, was of the opinion that in order to change the world, you have to do something BIG….something revolutionary….something that will go down in the history books.
That’s one reason I love the story of Dr. King. Yes, Martin Luther King Jr. was a revolutionary, and his example and actions inspired many and set about a course of events that changed/continue to change the world. BUT – he was also a man who saw an injustice, and stood up for what he believed in.
And that right there – that is what I want my son and the rest of my children to know and understand. We won’t all lead revolutions….but every single one of us has the ability to see something that’s not right, and stand up, show up, speak up, and do something.
I love what my son came up with. His ideas and dreams for the world are honest, admirable, and things he can actively take part in. Henry’s dreams are as follows:
- For kindness to be the new normal
- That people will fight to protect our natural resources
- That people will spend less time on their devices, and more time in real life
In each of these dreams, Henry can lead by example. He can show kindness, make choices that positively impact our environment, and encourage friends and family to explore nature, play board games, and have face to face interactions. What I want my kids to know is that you don’t have to attempt to change the world with one great-big-giant action. You can change the world with one small choice, one act of kindness, one friendship, one moment, one day at a time.
We hung Henry’s completed I Have a Dream Wish Tags on our star garland leading into our homeschool room. (My other children are eager to come up with some of their own dreams now! Henry’s already inspiring others!)
I love the visual reminder the Martin Luther King Jr. Wish Tags give our family. May my children always be dreamers….dreamers who take small steps of action each and every day.
You can find this printable activity on Education.com. Find more educational activities, lesson plans, and printables to celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day with your child on Education.com.