“Be a bush if you can’t be a tree. If you can’t be a highway, just be a trail. If you can’t be a sun, be a star. For it isn’t by size that you win or fail. Be the best of whatever you are.” – Martin Luther King Jr. October 26, 1967
Martin Luther King Jr is one of my heroes.
His passion for equality and justice inspired me at my core from the moment I heard his voice in a classroom many years ago.
I was never a good student, something that defined me and my confidence throughout my school career, so the fact that this particular lesson resonated so strongly with my 11-year-old self is remarkable.
The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education. – Martin Luther King Jr, 1947
The intrigue I captured that day led me on a pursuit of more information about Dr. King, trying to understand the circumstances that led to such passion and the courage to share it with so many.
I was fortunate to have parents who were happy to engage in the conversation and I also had the privilege of learning about his fight and legacy from a family friend who, as a young activist, had first-hand experiences with Dr. King.
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.” – Martin Luther King Jr, 1963
As it turns out, my learning challenges were a symptom of ADHD but being diagnosed at 49 was too late to impact my grades, but this event also shifted something in my core, validating that my differences were my gifts, making up the content of my character.
I realize now that the AUDIO of his voice was the key factor in my ability to connect to the material, hearing his passion and conviction helped me understand what is possible if you dare to share your voice.
So MLK day and his legacy I feel a gratitude that I couldn’t understand at 11.
The courage he had to lend his voice to so many others, in the moment and beyond, has shaped so many dreams, and futures.
Thank you Dr. King, for sharing your dream.
“A dream of equality of opportunity, of privilege and property widely distributed; a dream of a land where men will not take necessities from the many to give luxuries to the few; a dream of a land where men will not argue that the color of a man’s skin determines the content of his character; a dream of a nation where all our gifts and resources are held not for ourselves alone, but as instruments of service for the rest of humanity; the dream of a country where every man will respect the dignity and worth of the human personality.” – Martin Luther King, Jr 1963