The littles and I were heading back home this morning from our OutsandAbouts, when our Princess noticed the street sign.
“Mama, they have named a street after Mr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Look.”
I nodded. “I see that.” Interesting that after the years of Sundays travelling the street of that same name in Macon, she finally noticed the one we are rarely on in our own town.
“Martin Luther King. Is he the one who stopped slavery?” Cooter asked.
“No, he’s the one who stopped ‘For Whites Only,'” she replied.
“Why would anyone want to do that. For whites only. Why?”
They both were quiet then. I guess I was up to bat.
I sighed and focused on the traffic on the road. “Well, I guess some people didn’t care for folks who were different from them, maybe they were scared. So they didn’t believe that everyone had equal rights. And they tried to keep them separate, away from them.” I paused. “But everyone was created by God and is loved by God–so everyone is equal, right?”
A check in the rearview mirror showed their nodding heads in agreement.
“That just doesn’t make sense. For whites only.” Our Princess got very quiet.
But not Cooter. He only gets louder the more excited he becomes. “YEAH! That doesn’t make ANY SENSE AT ALL!” And he flung his arms out dramatically and then folded them to his chest in certain indignation.
I’m not quite sure where they learned about Dr. King. I’m replaying shows we’ve watched and books they’ve read in my memory bank files, and I can’t pinpoint where. I will ask them tomorrow. This morning I was so surprised by the turn of the conversation that I forgot to inquire how they knew who he was.
Tonight I’m thankful that things like this make no sense to my children. I’m thankful that they have conversations like this one, every now and then, where I can see straight through to their hearts, beyond the bickering and drama of siblingship, straight through to what really matters. I give thanks that they are indignant about injustices such as these. Because I know, and one day they will too, that the struggle for true equality is far from over. They will need their caring and indignant spirits to carry them through hard times and brokenness so they can make a difference, and maybe one day their children will find all that is happening today so far-fetched they will think their Mama or Daddy is making it up.
Fingers crossed. And toes too.
Love to all.