2 08/27/2013 parenting Education

Teaching Tolerance

MLK Jr.Scooby Doo. Franklin. Extraordinary Animals. More Scooby. This is our usual range of nighttime reading before Will gets a back scratch and drifts off to sleep to dream about…you guessed it, Scooby Doo. Last night, I decided to inject a little something different. We read the National Geographic book on Martin Luther King Jr. that I had picked up months earlier for him. I wanted to tell him about the 50th anniversary on the March on Washington and start to teach him early about how incredibly lucky we are to live in a country and time of tolerance.

I highly suggest getting this book. And get ready for the questions.

I highly suggest getting this book. And get ready for the questions.

Why couldn’t ML (we both learned this was his childhood nickname) play with his friend who was white?

Why didn’t the first person on the bus get the seat?

Why would someone want to hurt ML when he was just talking?

Oh the wisdom of the not yet tainted five-year old brain. He asked tough questions and frankly, I welcomed them. For twenty minutes we avoided the, “I want a baby brother and a dad” routine. He got really sad when Dr. King was shot in the book and for a moment, I thought I’d made a big mistake. But I explained that sometimes even when people die too soon, they can still do incredible things by others keeping their memories alive. That got his gerbils turning on the wheel and he smiled and asked if we could go to Washington one day to see the memorial. Sure kid. (That now becomes #24 on our list…still below graveyards in New Orleans in importance).

Right before I left the room, he added, ‘the erf (aka earth) used to be a terrible place mom. Volcanoes exploding, ice covering it, dinosaurs AND people could only play with friends the same colour.”

I can’t wait to learn through this kids eyes for the next 20 years. Bring on kindergarten!



  • Jennifer

    Out of the mouths of babes, Sara! I was in Washington DC with my family 2 weekends ago, and was answering a lot of similar questions. Toughest of all was from all three kids (aged 14, 12 and 8), “why did someone kill him?” It would be easier to say there’s no answer than to acknowledge that sometimes there’s just evil in the world. I’m going to look for that book now, too.

  • Irish

    Bring on kindergarten! He’ll challenge the teachers more than they challenge him! He’s the kind of kid that teachers love.
    I had an interesting conversation with Cam after he saw “no freedom til we’re equal” around the internet. I asked him to break the words down and think about what they mean. I was glad to see him process that.

    (My friend was in Washington with her family this past weekend. She said it was life changing at the Lincoln memorial, with all of that energy.)

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