Saturday, January 17, 2015

In Honor of Dr. King: Truth, Justice, and Service

This morning I woke up - grateful...

Grateful that on Monday we will celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King's national holidaywhich was signed into law by President Ronald Reagan in 1983 (yes - that's right!). The holiday has been celebrated in all 50 states since 2000 for all of the right reasons.

Truth, Justice, and Service

Dr. King represents the best of the best that humanity has to offer and he belongs to all of us. Wonderfully powerful and awe inspiring for his ability to raise the consciousness of America and the world to new heights, truth and justice were his calling and he answered boldly.
We cannot have an enlightened democracy with one great group living in ignorance.... We cannot have a nation orderly and sound with one group so ground down and thwarted that it is almost forced into unsocial attitudes and crime.
Dr. King knew what had to be done, but he certainly didn't do it alone as was so brilliantly shown in Selma.
There were countless names and faces - some mentioned and some not mentioned in history books - yet they carried the burden for the rest of us. It was their very lives that made it possible for America to change.
I can only shake my head in amazement at the strength and courage that it took for human beings of all stripes who realized that life simply wasn't supposed to be the way that it was so they set out to change it - and they changed it.
When I reflect on my contributions to date, I'm proud of where I am but I know that I didn't do it alone and that I have so much more to do. Much of the work was done before I was even born.
With gratitude I'll do what I can to support others on their journeys forward. While making the most of the opportunities that I've been given, I also have to create opportunities for others while I'm at it. The national Martin Luther King Day of Service is one of those openings - a chance to serve alongside others in honor of Dr. King. After all it's not just about me and mine.

The Next Generation

Last summer (2014) I took my daughter along with several family members on a tour of national monuments. My goals were to decompress, spend high-quality time with my daughter and family, and to enlighten them about the history of the country they call home. Our first stop was Washington DC where we spent time walking the entire mall (yes - walking!). One of the major highlights of our visit was the MLK Memorial.
I was pleasantly surprised that my daughter and her young cousins - all under 15 - were actively engaged in the education that they were receiving without too much prodding from me. They listened and asked lots of questions at each stop. They were quiet and reverent when required. Their tech gadgets were used to document their lessons learned. My daughter is shown using her iPad Mini to take pictures of the quotes lining the MLK Memorial wall.
Yes - there were also lots of complaints about the heat and all of the walking but there were sufficient breaks in between as well. I was determined to ensure that my next generation came away with a full experience and positive anchoring from which to grow their futures.
There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must take it because conscience tells him it is right.
While many youngsters may be super-absorbed in selfies and on-line social encounters, there are alternatives that are equally engaging. It's important for the adults in their lives to set the tone through exposure and increased awareness to the good in all of us and alert them to the tragedies that can result when good people remain silent. With properly directed insight next generations can work to expand truth, justice, service, and human dignity (the essence of bold leadership) in their everyday lives or in broader contexts as they are called to do so.

How will you lead and who will you serve on Dr. King's holiday?

Add your comments or insights below.

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