January 18, 2016

Taking A Moment For Dr. King

We try and do screen free Sundays. The kids are screen free Mon-Fri afternoon, but on Sunday Hill and I put away the phones and we have a big old family bonding fest. We do TRY. Some days by 3:00 I am wrapping my son's hot little hand around the remote control, duct taping them both to the sofa, pouring myself a giant glass of pinot and staring at my Twitter feed for an hour.

But yesterday, we had a planned interruption of screen free Sunday. Beck has the day off from Kindergarten today in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., as do most kids. To their credit his school did a unit on him and Beck was talking about why he had the day off. Which sounded like:

"Mom! Did you know that people used to be separated because of the color of their skin?! That doesn't make any sense!" No, kid, it doesn't.

I didn't want it to just be a day off for him, so I decided to supplement what he learned at school a bit. Naturally I did what anyone looking for materials appropriate for young children on the Civil Rights movement would do. I checked Pinterest.

I found two short YouTube videos that I felt were right for our situation. They talk about MLK and his life and accomplishments, they don't gloss over the hard stuff, but explain in a straightforward, matter-of-fact way that I've found works well with young kids. Could I have done more? Yes! Probably like printables and art projects and themed sensory play. But that's not really my style. I do want to use the holiday as an opportunity for volunteering in our community when they are a bit older and I feel like I have my shit together a little more. Right now, these short videos were a great way to dip their little toes into a whole ocean of conversational material.

 First this -


Because LeVar Burton and Reading Rainbow can tackle any topic - no matter how weighty or complicated.

And then this -

Because...Kid President. Enough said.

I sat on our sofa with my 2.5 and 5 year old children as we watched these well said, hopeful and even a little funny videos and sobbed. Even Beck got a little choked up at the story LeVar read us. But I'm not entirely sure why I was crying. Perhaps it was just that the emotion of this story I know so well came across new to me as I heard it told through new voices. It was probably a little because of all the ugliness in the world my kids are just starting to learn about. And I think a lot of it was because of the two vessels of hope for our messed up world that were sitting on either side of me and the weight I felt from the responsibility of making sure that they are part of healing this crazy place.

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