Visionary leader, inspiring orator, philosopher, agent of social change. In his too-short life, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. had many roles, all worthy of acknowledgement and remembrance. But how did HE want to be remembered?
In his sadly foreshadowing sermon, “The Drum Major Instinct,” delivered just months before his assassination, Dr. King told us:
If any of you are around when I have to meet my day, I don’t want a long funeral. And if you get somebody to deliver the eulogy, tell them not to talk too long. And every now and then I wonder what I want them to say. Tell them not to mention that I have a Nobel Peace Prize—that isn’t important. Tell them not to mention that I have three or four hundred other awards—that’s not important. Tell them not to mention where I went to school.
I’d like somebody to mention that day that Martin Luther King, Jr., tried to give his life serving others…I want you to say that I tried to love and serve humanity.
This is why we celebrate Dr. King’s birthday as a National Day of Service. And this day is also a fitting opportunity for students to reflect on their own core purpose and how they would like to be remembered, as an activity of self-realization and goal-setting.
To this end, nonprofit EduGuide has developed a free activity you can use with your students on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, the following week, during Black History Month in February, or really any time of the year.
Part of this activity asks students to reflect on and articulate their core purpose in terms of the difference they want to make for others. To take this even further, EduGuide is asking students in grades 6-12 to submit 1-5 minute videos articulating their message of the change they want to be in the world and how they plan to achieve that — for a chance to win a $1,000 scholarship and other prizes. More information and video submission form at www.EduGuide.org/challenge.
You can also download a PDF about the contest to share with your students.
Are you planning to use this activity with your students, or have you used it already? Tell us how it went in the comments!