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Jan 20 2014

Seven Things to Tell Your Kids About Martin Luther King, Jr.

By at 7:45 am

MARTINA

How do you get your kids to understand the meaning of a holiday, and not just the fact that they get a day off from school? Well, we were wondering the same thing, so we asked our readers on Facebook to share how they were planning on translating the importance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day to their kids.

Here are the five most thoughtful answers we received to help you celebrate MLK Jr. Day with your kids in a meaningful way:

1. Make them listen to his “I have a dream” speech. It’s wonderfully captivating!

2. There is a great book called My Brother Martin, written for young kids by MLK’s sister. It is beautiful and well written. I heartily recommend it!

3. I told my kids that MLK was a person who wanted everybody to be friends. Some people don’t think everybody should be friends; they think you should only be friends with people who are like you. But he really wanted everyone in the world to be friends with each other, even if they were different.

4. A reference point that they can relate to provides a good starting point for us. This comparison helps start the conversation: v’ahavta l’reacha kamocha (You shall love your fellows as yourself). It’s a basic concept that kids can be introduced to at a young age.

5. We talk about how sometimes a person stands up to do what is right for people. Our kids are 6 years old now, and we have likened it to Moses standing up for what is right. A small act of doing the right thing can become a big thing as time goes on.

6. When my son was 4, we talked about how some people treated others differently just because their skin was a different color, and wasn’t that so stupid? My son–who goes to school in a very diverse district and thus has friends of many races, ethnicities, and cultures–readily agreed that that was ridiculous.

7. My daughters are 5.5 and 4. One of them, at some point prior to this discussion, described the world as made of Peach People and Brown People. From there we described that there used to be different laws for Brown People and Peach People, and how the laws meant that Brown People and Peach People couldn’t live in the same neighborhoods or go to the same schools. From there we told them how MLK Jr. helped work to change those laws.

Do you have other tips for talking about MLK with young kids? Let us know in the comments below.

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