A small tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. through family discussions, speeches, and personal influences

I brought up Dr. (Reverend) Martin Luther King Jr. again today when talking to my son about the news. Each morning, we try to watch and discuss a portion of the news so that he can practice developing and articulating his thoughts but also so that he knows a little bit about what is going on in the world too. Since his father and I share completely opposite views on most things, my son gets to hear different viewpoints as he figures out his own.

Influence in our family

This Friday morning the topic was world population control (because one of the stories was on how to provide food for the people). I just couldn’t hold my tongue. (I was planning on not participating yesterday because I had some Bible study homework I needed to finish for a meeting.) However, I was compelled to add my 2 cents to the discussion that, “while we vote for and hope that our nation’s leaders will make moves that take into consideration the entirety of the people whom they serve – and even the world if that people are maybe more ‘well off’ like how I believe that we as a Nation (the United States of America) is – I believe that change first starts with the individual person. Each person makes their own personal choice(s) about what type of person and leader they will be through their actions. Dr. Martin Luther King had a personal vision that he and his family and friends should be judged by who they are – their character – not what they may look like and definately not simply by the color of their skin. He strongly believed that it could happen and shared his thoughts with those around him who bought into that vision too. And then he became a person with more and more influence – but he was always a leader. He embraced his role and he had to make choices to continue forward despite threats to his life, threats to the lives of those he loved and beatings, imprisonment, abuse and even murder of those who followed him. He was faced with making tough choices to continue or to not.

I kept going.

I wonder what Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was like as a child. Did his mom know that he would grow up and interact with world leaders? That HE would be a catalyst for true change and that he would be remembered long after his death? Who knew when  he was your age (11) that he would see an issue and be willing to personally do something about it?

I admit, I got lectured for pushing the idea that ‘we all need to do something’ to the people around me. Yes, I admit that it is true. I do feel that way. We all are leaders and we ALL have influence.  That is my bias and my perspective. I strongly believe that change starts with and within us first. We can’t expect someone else to do what we cannot first be willing to do ourselves. Or to sacrifice ourselves…

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a man and a leader who did just that. He was willing and he sacrificed. He continued forward even when it was hard because he believed in equality for all. Our nation needed to change and someone needed to do something about it. He went about it in a non-violent way and was recognized for that at the age of 35 being the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize for 1964.

Influence outside of the home

Last school year, 2017-2018, my children needed to choose a speech to work on during their speech and debate public speaking course put on by RADIX (also known as the Richmond Homeschool Forensics RADIX Debate club). We listened to several great speeches but, without direction from me, I was very pleased that they both ended up choosing speeches by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. They gave their speeches several times during their first 2-day tournament, “Christian Communicators of the Southeast (CCofSE) 2018 Colonial Classic speech and debate tournament” held in Richmond, Virginia, in front of several community adult judges towards the end of their school year. They both did a great job. My husband did not think that it was possible that they could memorize a 10 minute speech, but I knew they could if they just worked on it regularly. I believe that we can do most things that we put our time and effort into. Further, I know that if God wills it, we can do ALL things through Christ.

Philippians 3:10-13 ESV

10 I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity. 11 Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. 12 I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. 13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

Walking the talk

Here is a video of their very first speeches during the CCofSE competition held March 2-3, 2018 in Richmond, Virginia, hosted by RADIX:

“I’ve been to the mountaintop” by my 9-year-old:

“I have a dream” by my 10-year-old:

I know that they both were very nervous (and didn’t want to do it) but I was so proud of them! It takes courage to move forward despite your fears and the criticisms (from others but also inside your own head).

I proudly shared this on my personal social media page:

#investinourfuture #futureleaders#mykidsareablessingfromtheLord For their category, JV Great Speeches, they will recite their speech three times over the course of the weekend in front of different judges. There are other categories and ages competing ranging from age 5 all the way through 12th grade.  #learningtocommunicateeffectively #lifeskill

The next day

The next day all of the students presented their speeches (or debates) again to new judges and scores were tabulated. Family members and friends attended the closing ceremony.

We received a surprise.

Great job!! Validation from others can be encouraging to continue forward! 😉

What about you?

Yup, here I go again. Urging people to do their part, whatever it is. As a mom and a wife, I know that I have a part; I have an important role. I have the responsibility and opportunity to help shape and positively influence my family, regardless of their beliefs, steering them God’s way through my actions (1 Peter 3). My personal, growing relationship with Jesus Christ as my Savior and also my friend helps me to keep focused on what is really important. Also, I can see how God works through people to shine the light of hope all throughout this world.

Thank you to Dr. Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. and his family who endured more than we will ever know. I pray that many will continue to seek God and be used for His Glory, as Dr. King did with his life of service to those around him. Join with me in prayer for other leaders to rise up, speak Truth and lead as the Lord calls them with wisdom, discernment and complete submission to the authority and will of God.

This is The King Center, founded by Mrs. Coretta Scott King https://thekingcenter.org/about-king-center/.

So…what about you? How do you help to pass on what is important to you?

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