Fast-forward four days to my daughter eating raisin toast, getting ready for school when she announced, “Mom, I know stuff about the Civil War already.” My curiosity was piqued.
She explained that a long time ago, the white people made the black people be slaves. But MLK said black people should be able to sit where they want to on the bus and go where they want to.” I felt the need to explain there was a Civil War and then there was a Civil Rights Movement--two different, but related events. “What’s ‘civil’ mean, mommy?” I knew Civil War was an oxymoron, but at eight a.m. my mind was a little fuzzy.
I did my best to explain that the Civil War had guns, north versus south, but the Civil Rights Movement was 100 years later and was non-violent.
“100 years later? That’s a long time,” she said. “That’s almost as long as you’ve been alive, Mommy.” Thanks, kid. I’ve got 60 more years to go. “What about Daddy?” He’s one year older than me. “So he’s only got seven more years ‘til he’s 100.”
OK, so her math skills needed a little work, but she continued to impress me with her history lesson. She said, “But someone bombed Martin Luther King’s house even though he was non-violent.” Her expression fell. “He was going to protest that the black garbage workers weren’t paid the same as the white garbage workers. A white man hid and shot him.” She looked heartbroken.
A moment later she continued. “Even though some people were violent, Martin Luther King said, ‘Put not hate into your heart, but love.’”
That’s when I realized my daughter knew more about Martin Luther King Jr. than I did. Wow. From ignorance to knowledge in four short days.
To my daughter’s first grade teacher and teachers everywhere: thank you for picking up where we as parents sometimes fall short. (We’ll keep working on the math stuff at home, though, I promise!)
YOUR TURN TO COMMENT: When have you been impressed with what your child learned in school?
(In between the history & the math lessons, be sure to treat yourself to a novel by Karen Lenfestey: A Sister's Promise or What Happiness Looks Like are available as e-books or paperbacks at Amazon.)