The Blandings boys all discussed Martin Luther King, Jr. at school last week. The youngest, who is in Kindergarten, brought home this drawing. I paused for a moment to be grateful that he had not said, “I have a dream…that all people have candy,” or PSPs or something like that. He might have been coached. Still, when I asked him who King was he had a clear idea and explained to me that a long time ago some people didn’t get the same things as others, couldn’t go the same places, and that “that wasn’t fair.” “Martin Luther King,” he told me, “talked about it.”
I recently finished re-reading To Kill a Mockingbird. If I could hand my boys a book that would guide them to develop into the type of men I’d hope for them to be, this might be it. Published in 1960. Not a long time ago. In my lifetime people have moved from learning racism at their fathers’ knees to learning about it at school. A history lesson. Some have. Hopefully most have. Certainly we have made enough progress to elect an African American president and that is something that should give us pause.
I asked my youngest what the Xs were in his drawing. Thanks to his brothers he is a master at drawing guns and tanks and the like so I was surprised he hadn’t used those to represent war. He explained that the building itself is war and his marks are “x-ing” it out. He’s learned this method of ridding oneself of scary things from Harold, who is handy with his purple crayon. In one of the Harold tales he takes care of a scary witch, a demon of his own creation, by x-ing her out. We should all be armed with purple crayons.
And, to finish up this bit of rambling today, one of my favorite songs from James Taylor. I love James Taylor as I tend to run to fret and bother; he soothes my soul. So, let us turn our thoughts today to Martin Luther King.