Those of us in non-educator jobs will have a twinge of envy on January 16th as schools are closed and most of the rest of us will be going to work. Let it be known, holidays are usually the only time that educators are envied. Schools are closed in observance of Martin Luther King Jr Day. In the public schools that I grew up in MLK Day was celebrated before it was made into a national holiday. So all though my years of school we were taught about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. As a child I learned the facts about Dr. King. As an adult I’m learning the character lessons about Dr. King. Now before we go any further let me just save you the argument– I know Dr. King was a leader with shortcomings. In retrospect many have, with great glee, pointed out the reports of infidelity and other short comings. My response to that is– I don’t go through life with rose colored glasses. There are many people I admire because of their great accomplishments while also being imperfect people. Let’s just be clear: I’ve broken more of the 10 Commandments than I’d like to admit to and yet I’d like to hope I can still be considered a valued adviser and friend to those in my life.
OK, as I was saying: As an adult I’m still learning lessons from Dr. King and those who stood up for their rights throughout history. Harriet Tubman, those involved in women’s suffrage, people who covertly protected the Jews from the Nazis, and communities who gave their lives and possessions to fight for our independence against England, our history is full of fighters in the face of injustice. I’m so just naming a few examples– from the beginning of time we have examples of persons who fought for change in their world. This time we’re living in, it’s a strange time. Over the past year I’ve felt like I’m finding myself in a really weird movie about an insane world. Here’s the thing: I’m not a fighter by nature. I joke with people and say, “I’m a lover not a fighter.” That’s really true. I am a protector, but not a fighter, and they’re not the same thing. However these times are necessitating a change in my heart and my life.
I’m thinking of the strength that it takes to stand up for what you believe. I’ve done it before…………… leading to lost jobs and friends along the way. I’m wondering about the commitment it takes to stand and speak out when your safety may be threatened. Worse than that, where does the strength come from when your family’s safety may be threatened? That’s what I’d like to ask Dr. King. How much time did he spend thinking about those types of things or did he just stay so swept up in the current situation that his mind was always busy with details. That’s where my mind likes to go when I’m facing uncertainty. I like to drown my mind in working out details because it keeps me from thinking about other less pleasant things, I guess the things I really don’t have any control over. I’m such a —-human. I have often thought that I’m glad the God is much more comfortable with me being completely human than I am sometimes.