Driving my 3yr old to school the other morning, milliseconds back from winter vacation, she yelled, “Mom, when is my next school break?”
Girl, you are 3! What type of break could you possibly need? I’ve never come across a stressed out “Line Leader” or perused the self-help isle of the book store for “The Woes of a Snack Helper”…
Finding no shock in this inquiry (as the first words out of her mouth every morning are “Is today an ‘S’ day (Saturday/Sunday)?” I replied, cheerily, “You have a school vacation day just around the corner as a matter of fact.”
And right then and there I underwent a dissertation (at a 3yr year old comprehension level) about the upcoming holiday.
“In two Mondays, you will be out of school so that we can honor Martin Luther King, an amazing person who stood up for what he believed in. He had wonderful dreams and made them come true by bringing moms and dads, son and daughters, and people of all types, from all over, together in a way they had never been in past…”
I was so caught up in my story telling that I nearly forgot I had a listener.
My daughter cut me off asking, “Where is the Mart King now?”
We’re pretty open and honest in our family, so I took that opportunity to explain that, “Martin Luther King had died; no one lives forever… But when he was alive, he was a strong leader and stood up for what he believed in which made some people unhappy because they believed in something different.”
Before I had a moment to explain further my daughter asked, “Did someone get mad and hurt the Mart King? Is that why he is not here anymore?”
Amazed at her level of comprehension and engagement, my daughter added fuel to my rhetoric fire. “Yes, that was a bad person who was punished for what he did.”
My daughter asked, “What was the name of the bad man who hurt the Mart King?
Thinking on it I admitted, “I am not sure.”
Forgiving me she smiled, “Mama, it’s ok that you don’t know his name. I don’t want to know his name either. Let’s only talk about the Mart King, the good guy! I bet the Mart King was nice to the man who hurt him because he wanted everyone to get along so he made sure to be nice, even to the bad guy.”
Yes, that sounds about right oh wise one…
She concluded the conversation with a determined, “I like the Mart King,” then a skipped out of the car and into her classroom.
About a week passed when, tucking my daughter into bed one night, she said, “Hey Mama, remember that guy who made the sun?”
“God?” I inquired. “No, not God. Good guess though,” she giggled back.
“No, not her; she’s not a guy, Mama!”
“Who then? Is this a bedtime stall tactic?”
“MAMA, that KING…”
I could not, for the life of me think of a King that made the sun.
Begging her to tell me more about this amazing King who made the sun (thinking it was a story they had read in school), my daughter said, “Mama, you remember, The King you were telling me about? He made the Sons and Daughters love each other?!”
Oh yes, how could I forget Martin Luther King?!
“Yes, mama, the Mart King! That’s it, you’re a genius! Tonight, while falling asleep, I’ll think about him and have a really good dream!”