This time of year, just over a decade ago I picked John and Taryn up after school and asked them what they had learned. John quickly replied, “we learned all about Martin Luther King Jr.” It was the Friday before Martin Luther Kind Day, so I wasn’t surprised that it had been a topic in their kindergarten class. I asked John, “what did you learn?”
He said, “Martin Luther King Jr. got shot for having bad dreams.”
I’m pretty sure those aren’t the exact words his teacher used. But I’ve always gotten a giggle when I think about that story.
This year, I knew Jackson’s class would also be learning about Mr. King because I helped get the project ready last week. I’ve been waiting patiently to see what Jackson would take from the lesson. This is what he told me.
“Martinluferking’s (all one word) birthday is today, so we have the day off school.”
“Why do we celebrate this day? He was an important person, what did he do?”
“Umm … because he did nice things for the brown people.”
“Like what kinds of things did he do?”
“He made sure they could sit wherever they want.”
“That’s true. Do you know what happened to Martin Luther King Jr.?”
“He got shot because somebody didn’t like him. Probably a white person. I bet he got in jail. But it’s ok, because then Martinluferking became a holiday.”
He’ll get more clear on all that in the next few years. I’m sure of it.