The life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. will be celebrated this weekend throughout the United States. Even if you do nothing to celebrate or acknowledge Dr. King, I think the holiday is a great opportunity to talk to children about diversity, fairness, equality, kindness, friendship and peace.
Every year since my kids were born, I’ve been reading Kadir Nelson’s book I Have a Dream with the kids. The book contains snippets from the famous “I Have a Dream” speech as well as the speech in its entirety in the back of the book. There is also an accompanying CD to go along with it.
Reading this book makes me think about my own dreams for my children. As parents, we all want the best for our children, right? In essence, we want them to be smart, successful and to achieve all of their life goals.
Here are some of my hope and dreams for my children:
- To be be happy, loving, respectful, and productive citizens of the world
- To be confident
- To think for themselves and form their own opinions
- To be successful in anything they put their minds to
- To always know their parents love and support them no matter what they do
- To dare to be different despite what others may think or say
- To be doers and not dreamers (from Shonda Rhimes book Year of Yes)
- To work hard and play harder
- To be loving and respectful of nature and the environment
- To be willing to experience new and different things
- To be curious, life-long learners and readers
- To respect other people no matter what their differences may be
- To love life with zest and vigor
- To share their love with others and to be loved by others
- To give back to those in need and to help make this world a better place no matter how small it may be
- To be a good friend to others
- To choose the right way even when the right way is much harder
- To make mistakes and learn from them
- To take risks and not be afraid of failure
- To be healthy
- To follow their passions and to live fully
- To dance like no one is watching
- To take amazing adventures (and sometimes take mommy and daddy along for the ride too!)
Ultimately, I hope my kids’ lives are filled with happiness, giggles, safety, and good health. I want their lives to be filled with gratitude, joy, and giving.
Cheers to you, Dr. King on your birthday in heaven! Thank you for the opportunity to meditate on your message and your legacy.
Your turn: What are your hopes and dreams for your children? Do they mirror your own? Feel free to share in the comments.