Things like justice, equality, friendship, and faith. In our world, they often see prejudices and injustice. Often kids know this isn’t right, but they don’t know how to change things. The good news is the best way for kids to make changes is for them to start with their own hearts. While on January 20 we take time to honor Martin Luther King, Jr., the lessons he taught us are ones we can teach our kids any time of the year. Here are three lessons we can teach kids inspired by Dr. King.
1. “The time is always right to do what is right,” said Dr. King.
There are a lot of people who mistreat others because of their skin color or ethnic background, yet today is the day we can do what is right. Doing what is right may mean standing up for the kid who’s being picked on at school. It might be creating toiletry bags to carry in your car for homeless people. Doing what is right can change on a daily basis. We can pray each day and ask Jesus to show us how to act right in even hard situations.
2. Take the first step.
The best way to have friends from all backgrounds is to be friendly and to take the first steps in getting to know others. It’s having faith that if you treat others well they’ll do the same to you. “Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase,” says Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The first step can start simple. It just starts with introducing yourself and offering a smile.
3. Read about people who care.
Often the best way for our kids to understand how to care for others is to read about people who have done it well. Our family loves to read missionary stories and stories about people who serve others. One book we read recently and loved was Same Kind of Different as Me for Kids by Denver Moore and Ron Hall (there’s also a movie). The book shares about Denver’s life growing up as a son of a sharecropper. Without the opportunity of an education, Denver grows up feeling trapped, and he leaves his home and jumps a train, ending up homeless in Fort Worth. My children listened intently as I read Denver’s story and shared about how a woman named Miss Debbie befriended him, changing his life forever. It opened up some great conversations, and my kids learned how everything can change when someone cares. As we consider Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. the best thing we can do is teach our kids about all the things he cared most about.