honoring king 2019

This day for me was not merely a national holiday but a holy day where I got to honor sacred rhythms of rest and contemplation.

Reflecting on King’s legacy, I recalled that my earliest childhood learnings about him where fraught with bellyache-inducing worry and fear about the KKK and other white supremacists who brutalized, jailed and ultimately assassinated MLK and fellow Civil Rights activists. By my teens, the quickening in my gut turned into quiet groans of exasperation and impatient disinterest at the same regurgitated stories.

In all fairness, it wasn’t was limited to King — history, categorically, was made boring by the majority of my teachers, in both the public + private schools I attended.

What I ask now, as a parent, devoted learner, homeschool educator and facilitator who values and cultivates liberating spaces:

Whom does it serve to keep us bored, disinterested, fearful, anxious and disconnected from the histories of our people?


“Most of the “brethren” think that education should equip them with the proper instruments of exploitation so that they can forever trample over the masses…

Education must also train one for quick, resolute and effective thinking. To think incisively and to think for one’s self is very difficult. We are prone to let our mental life become invaded by legions of half truths, prejudices, and propaganda. At this point, I often wonder whether or not education is fulfilling its purpose. A great majority of the so-called educated people do not think logically and scientifically. Even the press, the classroom, the platform, and the pulpit in many instances do not give us objective and unbiased truths.

To save man from the morass of propaganda, in my opinion, is one of the chief aims of education.

Education must enable one to sift and weigh evidence, to discern the true from the false, the real from the unreal, and the facts from the fiction…

We must remember that intelligence is not enough. Intelligence plus character—that is the goal of true education…If we are not careful, our colleges will produce a group of close-minded, unscientific, illogical propagandists, consumed with immoral acts. Be careful, “brethren!” Be careful, teachers!”

— Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., The Purpose of Education


Thinking of all the WHOs, WHATs and WAYs that MLK’s life may have been inspired by, intersected with and inspired the stories/creators of stories represented in this sample selection of books we have read over the years.

I curate my kiddo’s learning in ways that bring context and build connections between people and events in our (ever-unfolding) history.

 

Read the full text here: The Purpose of Education

Advertisements

breathing beauty into the world: a mindfulness practice for children (who are learning to see with eyes of compassion)

Each day I rise, waking to a world of possibilities.

I breathe and smile, happy and ready to learn, grow and share.

I see the sky, sun, clouds above me.

I see the earth, plants, water below me.

I feel the air around me.

I breathe and smile, knowing that I am in the world and the world is in me.

I choose to see beauty in myself, my family, my friends, my neighbors, my teachers, my community, and all living creatures.

I choose to speak words from my heart that are true, helpful, inspiring, necessary, and kind.

I choose to act from my heart in ways that are helpful, healthy, inspiring, and kind.

Even when I do not feel or act my best (whether I am sad, scared, confused or angry), I remember to place my hands on my heart and breathe.

I smile, knowing I can begin anew.
I can ask for help and comfort from those I trust and love.

Each night, I rest, thankful for all that I learned and shared.

I see the sky, moon, stars above me.

I see the beauty all around me. I breathe and smile, knowing that I am in the world and the world is in me.

[originally written Fall 2012]

This writing has multiple sources of inspiration:
  • My experiences as an aunt, mother, and substitute teaching assistant for a preschool program;
  • My experiences as a practitioner and teacher of yoga and meditation, which is rooted in my practice of Zen Buddhism in the lineage of Thich Nhat Hanh;
  • My dear friend TaNesha Barnes, who asked me some time last year to create an affirmation for Beyond The Surface, the critical thinking and social justice academy she literally built in her own backyard!  A 21st-century embodiment of Wonder Woman, TaNesha is a mother, entrepreneur (t. barnes beauty), educator and social justice advocate with a clear heart-driven mission to empower students to become “global thinkers for equitable living.” When she recently posted the draft version of this piece (typed one late-night and stored as a memo on my BlackBerry) on Facebook, I was not only honored that she announced it would be recited daily in her upcoming program, Breathing Beauty Rites of Passages for Black Girls, but also compelled to add some long-awaited finishing touches! I am so deeply grateful to have lived, learned and grown up with TaNesha over the last 19 years and, on this 50th anniversary of the March on Washington (#MOW50), am excited to continue collaborating with her on programs that merge spirituality and wellness with social justice.