Yesterday was my first ever Martin Luther King Day, which is a fairly recent addition to the calendar of holidays, as I have never visited America at this time of year before. I am not going to blog about the legacy of Dr King or his importance to American and world history because that is not the nature of this blog. Suffice to say, however, that he and people like him are inspirational. That then is the essence of Martin Luther King Day. It is about taking that inspiration and those lessons of doing something to make your community better and using your time, skills and resources to make a difference. Of course, this is not necessarily bound in the context of the Civil Rights movement but is interpreted more widely so that it has become a day for volunteering. I have volunteered in different capacities and at different levels of dedication since my teenage years so the concept of this holiday appealed to me.
For our day of service, the kids and I headed to the Elementary School they attend as the school’s counsellor had organised a range of volunteering activities. We could do things as varied as bag up breakfast items, write letters to service men and women, sort out donated coats or weed the school’s grounds. In the end, given the spread of ages of my children, we decided to go and organise, clean and box up donated toys. The kids did a great job of getting stuck in and helping out and as a whole group we powered through the task in no time at all. I was especially pleased when m 8 year old told me how much he enjoyed the feeling of doing something to help others.
I really like this holiday and perhaps next year we will be in a position to get even more involved in volunteering in our community, perhaps even engaging longer term in a project if we can manage the logistics.
As an aside, on the way home my four year old asked me if what we had just done was “musketeering”. Cute.