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Smarter Mom: Celebrate MLK Jr. Day

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This Monday, we mark the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. For many of us, it's a day off work and a day off for our kids. But it's so much more; King's message of nonviolence, racial harmony and equality is something still needed in our world today.

Here are some ways you can talk with your children about Dr. King's legacy and mark the day in a meaningful way as a family:

If your kids have learned about King in school, talk to them about what you think he would be fighting for now. What causes would he be championing? How do you feel about those causes? How would your lives as a family be different if he never stood up for civil rights?

Be of service to others. One overlooked aspect of King's work is that he fought against poverty. How can you help people less fortunate than you as a family? Some ideas that are kid-friendly include: gathering toiletries for a homeless shelter, donating diapers to a domestic violence shelter, or packing food boxes at a food bank.

Have a family dinner and include foods from other cultures. King's parents required that the children be home for supper, because those family dinner times were an important way to connect and discuss the issues of the day; try doing the same with your own family and see what interesting things your kids have to say.

This post from Family Education suggests a lot of thought-provoking ways to celebrate, including some interesting family discussion starters. The US Consulate's website has a lot of good information about King as well.

Do you intend to mark Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday in some way? How?

Image via Yoichi R. Okamoto/Wikimedia Commons

by on Jan. 17, 2013 at 12:00 AM
Replies (71-76):
by on Jan. 21, 2013 at 7:40 PM

My boys are young but I do talk to them about what MLK has done. When I get some extra money I want to buy a few kids books about MLK for next year.

We also collect food and toiletries for the homeless but that is all year kinda thing.

by on Jan. 21, 2013 at 8:58 PM

 No, we didnt do anything special. I did sit dd down and read some things about him. She already knew a lil about him from school. We watched his I Have a Dream speech and talked about what he was trying to achieve.

by on Jan. 21, 2013 at 8:58 PM

Everybody love MLK J. (sign in Israel)

by on Jan. 21, 2013 at 9:27 PM

I wonder what he would have to say if he were alive today.  Bet he'd be pulling a [Bill Cosby].  I think he did some great things, was a legend in his own time.  As I child when he was still alive, I well remember MANY of the good thing he had in mind for our country.  

I celebrated this day in my own...private...way.  

by on Jan. 21, 2013 at 9:29 PM

I have the information printed out and in a binder with information from other government holidays as well as Diwali, Kwanzaa, Thanksgiving, Yom Kippur, etc. I spent hours collecting data last summer, I have no need to research everything again when history rarely changes. 

Quoting tansyflower:

lol well one would assume that if you felt that strongly about it and are planning on reviewing said material with your children today you would have it on hand :)

Quoting mom2theA-team:

No, I'm in a perfectly fine mood but it gets old having people ask you for links when it takes five minutes tops. 

Quoting tansyflower:

sounds like somebody woke up on the wrong side of the bed O.o

Quoting mom2theA-team:

Someone posted this a few years ago and I found myself researching. Google is not a hard tool to use, I don't have the time or need to do work for you because you are being lazy. 

Quoting tansyflower:


Quoting mom2theA-team:

Personally, I find myself educating my daughter on the lies society tells us about MLK. We don't celebrate people who cheat their way through school or beat women. 

by on Jan. 21, 2013 at 9:33 PM

I'd like to think that the idea of service, community and equality are things that I teach and show my kids on a daily basis, as opposed to select days throughout the year.

While we don't do anything special to mark the day (it's just a regular day 'round here), I'm sure that once my kids are in school, they'll learn all about the meaning and man behind the day.

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