Living, Learning and Parenting with Courage & Strength 1/21/18


Living, Learning and Parenting with Courage & Strength

One big sky covers us all equally.
— Coffee Mug, Big Sky Cafe, San Luis Obispo, California



Monday’s MLK, Jr. holiday gave us time to reflect on Martin Luther King Jr.’s teachings on respect, empathy and love. In today’s 24-hour news feeds, our kids are exposed to disturbing events, diverse perspectives and different attitudes- things that our parents could shelter us from, if they chose. Teens must filter through the flood of information that comes from social media and critically comprehend what is valuable and what is not. Dr. King spoke of the importance of that skill 70 years ago, and his words are equally relevant today:

Education must enable one to sift and weigh evidence, to discern the true from the false, the real from the unreal, and the facts from the fiction
— Martin Luther King Jr.'s College Paper on The Purpose of Education (1947)

To read his college paper the resource is here: The Purpose of Education (1947)

As our kids are exposed to challenging issues and realities via the media and social media, they need guidance to help them understand the issues, language used, perspectives, and personal attitudes that shape how people act in response. They are facing conflicting beliefs and challenging ideals. And, while they are navigating them with the tools they have, they need adults to be there to listen, observe, validate, clarify, and engage their questions in the process.

This generation of teens is more diverse, exposed and aware, and they are growing up to be more inclusive and open-minded. Yet, many young adults are being asked to take on more than they may be able to effectively comprehend. Our teens are seeking the human needs of belonging, feeling valued, feeling understood, and feeling that they are good at something. We have opportunities to help them see human needs and human rights in different ways, and learn to extend that understanding to others. We want our teens to feel that their lives have meaning and believe that they can make a difference.

Decades ago, people drew on their courage and strength to persevere through the struggles of their day: injustice, racism, discrimination, and violence. The issues of our day also require courage and strength. The kind that MLK Jr. modeled for his generation can guide us all today.

Celebrating being perfectly imperfect,