Kids at our daycare in Gilbert AZ understand the difference between the good guys and the bad guys and the difference between heroes and villains, even though we have to use age appropriate words when giving them examples. And they want to be the good guy. Martin Luther King, Jr. was one of the good guys. He had the kind of values that we support at our daycare in Gilbert AZ. Here are a few ways to teach kids about Martin Luther King, Jr. so they learn the values that made him the man he was:
Value #1: Nonviolence
Quote: “Nonviolence is a powerful and just weapon, which cuts without wounding and ennobles the man who wields it. It is a sword that heals.”
Fact: Martin Luther King, Jr. won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964 after he traveled to India and learned a lot about how to lead nonviolent protests from Mahatma Gandhi. Gandhi helped his people gain freedom from British rule without the use of violence to achieve this goal. King also believed that nonviolence was the best way to work toward equality in the U.S.
What you can do: Teach your children how to solve conflicts peacefully, without hitting or hurting anyone. When kids feel angry or upset, they need to know how to express their feelings in words and be able to talk about what they need to do to make things better.
Value #2: Leadership
Quote: “A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus.”
Fact: Simple actions often transform people into leaders. In 1955, a Black woman named Rosa Parks was arrested for breaking the law by refusing to give up her seat to a White man when the “Whites only” section of the public bus was full. Her small act sparked Martin Luther King, Jr. to lead the Montgomery Bus Boycott. This action led to a protest that last more than a year and helped end segregation on the city’s buses, and fueling the U.S. Civil Rights Movement.
What kids can do: Be a leader: whether in a club, on a sports team, or in the classroom. Feel self-confident, show good sportsmanship, and help your peers peacefully work out conflicts.
Value #3: Selflessness
Quote: “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’”
Fact: Martin Luther King, Jr. said he felt an “inner urge” calling him to “serve humanity” so became a minister. He realized becoming a civil rights leader would be dangerous, but he chose that difficult path because he cared more about helping others than protecting himself.
What kids can do: Volunteer for a charity or offer to do something kind for your neighbors, friends, and relatives.
By talking to your kids about the enduring qualities and values of Martin Luther King, Jr., you will help them develop their own admirable characters. This will help them recognize other great people with those same values, whether those people are adults or even their own peers. The world needs more good guys and you as parents can help your kids understand what they need to do in order to be a good guy. We here at Life Learning Center Preschool and Child Care, your daycare in Gilbert AZ, are already instilling those values in tomorrow’s leaders.