Monday, January 16, 2012

January 16 - Martin Luther King Jr. Day

"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character."

Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day! I am jumping out of order here because I think today is so important. Tomorrow I will go back to sharing our holiday shenanigans but today bears celebrating with awareness. [Fair warning: it's my blog and I'll pontificate if I want to.]

MLK Jr. day is a national day of service and honors an extraordinary man. To be perfectly honest, my family and I have never used this as a day of service. This project, however, has made me acutely aware of the presence and design of holidays. They aren't made without cause or thought. Veteran's Day, Memorial Day, July 4th, whatever it is, it bears taking a step back and really looking at why we celebrate it and, perhaps more importantly, how we celebrate it. These aren't just bonus days off of work or glorious days when the mailman doesn't deliver more bills. There are reasons and intentions, and they are oft forgotten. (Excuse my English. I just finished watching five hours of Pride and Prejudice and I find myself saying things like "oft" and "yes, my lady" or "oh, bollux".) The point is, I take these days for granted, without much thought, and with a lack of gratitude I think they deserve. I know what the days are for but I do not take the time to truly celebrate them and I think it is a disservice to me, to my family, and to what the day commemorates.

Although I am not with my boys today (I'm actually out in Arizona helping my parents make their new house a home, and yes, we are celebrating holidays via Face Time), we will be taking time to discuss how we can better honor these days.

For today though, I'd like to at least share a few of my favorite quotes from Dr. King:

"An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of humanity."

"History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good."

"Nonviolence means avoiding not only external physical violence but also internal violence of spirit. You not only refuse to shoot a man, but you refuse to hate him."

"Life's most persistent and urgent question is, "What are you doing to help others?""

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