Use me, God. Show me how to take who I am, who I want to be, and what I can do, and use it for a purpose greater than myself.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
I love this little prayer. We are currently using it as a breakfast blessing, and will continue to use it until Lent. Before we began saying this prayer, my little seven year old saw a picture of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and commented that Dr. King “worked for all of America,” which I thought was an astute comment. May we all work for our own families, for each other and to build our nations in love and in generosity.
Martin Luther King Jr. Day is an important day in the cycle of American festivals. There are only three American federal holidays named after specific people: George Washington’s birthday, Abraham Lincoln’s birthday, and Martin Luther King Jr. Day. It is a day to celebrate the light and legacy of Dr. King: his powerful oration, his ability to galvanize a nation toward equality in love, the youngest Noble Peace Prize winner at the time.
Our family is extremely lucky to live within driving distance of the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site and can visit and walk the areas that were most impactful in Dr. King’s life. For those of you in many different parts of the country and world, perhaps you will be volunteering today to further light in the world. Perhaps you will be supporting organizations that champion equality today; in the South we have the Southern Poverty Law Center which does work in civil rights and public interest legislation.
Perhaps for small children you would like to listen to the Sparkle Stories in honor of the legacy of Dr. King.
There are also many wonderful books to read:
There are many sort of “mid level” biographies to enjoy
“March” – the graphic novel trilogy by John Lewis (preread) (for tweens, teens, adults)
Adults may enjoy the March Trilogy and also this book, “A Gift of Love: Sermons From Strength to Love And Other Preachings” by Dr. King
Great inspiration for teenagers for artwork for the day could include the artwork of Derek Russell, which was shared by the Southern Poverty Law Center, and I have been looking at this morning for my own inspiration.
Volunteering as a family is a way that Martin Luther King Jr. Day is often celebrated. Volunteering is another wonderful way to spend time together, build family bonds, and help others. Sometimes families have a hard time finding volunteer opportunities that will take children under the age of 16, but I encourage you to check with different places in your area. You may be surprised!
However, we must never forget that volunteerism also begins at home. We help each other when we are stressed, tired, or upset. We work together as a family team. If we live in a neighborhood or subdivision, we help our neighbors in need, whether that is a hot meal or a listening ear.
May the selfless spirit of this day infuse every day for you and your family,