Martin Luther King Jr and Why We Should Try Even Though We Aren’t Perfect

Martin Luther King Jr

When I was a kid in NH, the state refused to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day.  I was so embarrassed. I begged my mom to move because I did not want to live in a state that wouldn’t celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day

She refused. 

I thought she was ridiculous and terribly mean. I pretty much had a tantrum in my bedroom, threw my pillow around, packed my duffel bag and sleeping bag, and walked down the driveway, sputtering about how horrible she was. And she could find a job in another state. And it wasn’t such a big deal to sell a house.

Then I thought about what Dr. King said. 

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.

And it’s hard to drive out darkness when you run away.

It’s hard to not feel powerless in fighting injustice when you can’t even vote, but you can. You really can. You can join organizations that fight against injustices. You can speak out when you see someone being bullied. You can make yourself into a beacon of light, and try to do as much as you can to promote kindness and love and grace.

You will screw up.

Screwing up is normal.

But to not screw up? To do nothing? That’s the kind of thing that will eat away your insides. As Dr. King said: 

He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.

During his life and since his death, a lot of people have tried to cast Dr. King in a negative light. People do that kind of thing to heroes and to people who create change . They are trying to discredit his message by picking apart his life. But that doesn’t work. No man, no woman, no person, is perfect.

But the things we believe in can be perfect, bigger than us.

The things we believe in can be truths that resonate.

Dr. King’s message and truths are like that. I am so glad he was here, so glad he was brave, and so glad that we chose to applaud that. He said:

Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness.

I am going to try harder to walk in the light of creative altruism. I will probably screw up a ton, but it’s worth it.


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Author: carriejonesbooks

I am the NYT and internationally-bestselling author of children's books, which include the NEED series, FLYING series, TIME STOPPERS series, DEAR BULLY and other books. I like hedgehogs and puppies and warm places. I have none of these things in my life.

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