Monday, January 20, 2014

Hate cannot drive out Hate; only Love can do that. -Dr. King

This week, I have come face to face with one of the biggest challenges of parenting a thoughtful and observant child. Addressing the reality that is the spectrum of human possibility - the lengths to which hatred will go to snuff out the power of love.

Sophia came home from school on Thursday with a booklet about Martin Luther King, Jr. I asked if she had any questions about him. She responded, "No. I already know that the guy shot him." So I knew we were in for a talk. She's not one just to take in that kind of information and move on.

I won't share too many of the details of our conversation. It's too intimate a topic for general revelation.

I will tell you that we extensively covered the topics of hatred, fear, love and forgiveness.

It was quite possibly the hardest conversation that we have had to date. Sophia's world is safe and comfortable. She has never seen anyone as different, even though I'm sure others are aware of their own differences.

Sophia didn't know how much people could hate. Until I told her.

Having to tell my beautiful, innocent and loving child about the fear and hatred that exists in the world was terrible. I didn't want her to understand. I didn't want her to realize fully what humans are capable of doing to one another. I was grateful that I got to tell her about the love that people like Dr. King, Nelson Mandela, Jesus and Gandhi showed to others, even to those who showed them nothing but cruelty and hatred. I got to tell her about the encompassing forgiveness that each of them embodied during their lifetimes. We talked about how love is stronger than hatred. We talked about how we can show others that we love them and help to make the world a safer place, not only for us but for those who live in fear.

As we talked, I woke up.

It's easy to become complacent. To forget where we have been as a people, and where we continue to struggle. As adults, as people who have seen and heard way too much, it's far too easy to hear about atrocities and pains, small and great, with a mental shrug of the shoulders. We might shake our heads, but are we doing it to express sadness or just to clear the image from our minds?

If you choose to look our world in the face, don't forget what Dr. King told us. "Never succumb to the temptation of bitterness."

I want to be a part of creating a world that is closer to the one that Sophia thought we lived in. Closer to the one that Sophia lives in. I want to be worthy of the trust that she puts in me - she puts it in you, too, I guarantee.

 “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.” MLK, Jr


  1. For my MLK Day, I listened to a speech and a sermon from MLK Jr. The 51-year old sermon was appropriate to your last few paragraphs there, and but for a few current event references, could have been preached this week. Titled "A Knock at Midnight." Also, wow, what an orator. The pacing of the sermon was like the tide: rising, falling, then rising at the end with a big crash against the rocks. I seriously chuckled, and teared up, and wanted to shout with hope at the end. Dude was good.

  2. I have been amazed at his skill. Sounds like one I'll check out. Thank you.

  3. I love this post! It really spoke to me, and it said exactly what I needed to hear today!