I am surprised and impressed as A. repeats to me what he’s learned in school about Martin Luther King, Jr.
“His big words were love, peace and togetherness,” he starts. “He won a special, special medal because he taught people to fight with their words.”
“And not their fists?” I prompt. A. nods.
Isn’t it amazing how kids understand the big picture?
Today, on a day dedicated to the memory and ideals of the greatest leader in America’s struggle for civil rights, I start a frank conversation with the boys about the things MLK wanted for all of us. Equality. Freedom. Opportunities.
“If you could be any color in the world other than what we are, what would you be?” I ask.
“Red,” F. answers.
“Yellow,” says I.
“I’m picking whatever Mom picks,” A. says. He and I are both green.
“Do you think the color of our skin changes the person we are inside?” The boys agree it doesn’t.
“How do you think it makes people feel to be treated badly because their skin looks different?”
“Bad. Real bad,” A. says. We talk about what we might do if we see someone being teased or bullied. Tell a teacher. Stand up and speak out. Be their friend.
“I think our life is much more interesting because of all the differences between us. What do you think?”
F. smiles. “Rainbow is my favorite color.” That’s my boy.