My six-year-old suggested over the weekend that we make a birthday cake for Martin Luther King, Jr.
So today, while our 1.5-year-old slept, my wife and I and two sons all went into the kitchen together. We made a carrot cake. (The part of the cake that is not frosted is because of the lactose intolerance of our littlest one.)
We’ve also been reading a short biography of King to our six-year-old, which is geared toward children. You can find it here. In that story, Martin was also six years old when he knocked on the door of some neighbor friends (where he had gone many times), only to hear the mom say:
It was all right for you to play together when you were younger. But now you’re all in school. So it’s best that you go your own different ways.
Martin quietly asked, “Why?” “Because you’re colored and we’re white,” the mom said, after which she shut the door.
It’s been interesting talking with our oldest son about MLK (and he learned about him in his kindergarten class at school, too). It can be hard to gauge how much a child is absorbing in such conversations, but I’m encouraged that his primary response to learning about Dr. King’s life has been a desire to celebrate him. We even sang “Happy Birthday” tonight.
Happy Birthday, Dr. King! We’ll bake you another cake next year.