Yesterday I had to make a quick run to the drug store.  As I was waiting in line, two teen boys were behind me buying the necessities appropriate for that age – Doritos, Coke and Starbursts.  I couldn’t help eavesdropping on their conversation which went something like this….

Teen 1: Dude, I gotta go home and catch up on my Chem homework.

Teen 2: Stupid, we don’t have class tomorrow.  You can do it later.

Teen 1: Sweet.  Is it a teacher work day tomorrow or something?

Teen 2:  I don’t know.  I just know we don’t have class.

Overhearing this conversation, I got angry.  Actually I think the term “furious” is more appropriate.  Then I instantly got sad because those two boys have no idea what today means.  Yes, today is a “day off” but it is so much more than that.  It is a day of reflection on the struggles of all disenfranchised people.  It is a day of remembrance of one man who led a movement that directly impacted an entire race.  It is a day of observance and respect to Dr. King, his hopes, dreams and legacy.

So today, there are no pretty pictures.  No snippy comments.  No witty banter.  Just a heavy heart knowing that somewhere along the way, Dr. King’s message is not being paid forward to the next generation.



16 thoughts on “Reflections……

  1. oh I hear you friend… some of the conversations overheard by the youngsters these days are shocking….. were we like this when we were kids? I’d like to think not…. anyway, loved your reflections on Dr. King today. xo

  2. It really is heartbreaking to see the next generation taking so lightly what was won at so great a cost…definitely sitting the little ones down today for a lesson in history and gratitude…it’s never too early to start!

  3. I’m gonna throw it out there and say that NOTHING is being passed forward to the next generation. Come hang out with me on my block when the high school gets out at 1-something-pm. Cops have to stand on the corner and shoo them away from the Duanne Reade and then make sure they get on the subway. I’ll prob eat my words one day when I have a teen of my own but these kids are petrifyingly disrespectful, loud, and ignorant. They challenge you when walking down the street and one of these days I’m gonna go crazy lady asian ninja on one of them.

  4. Hi Courtney,

    This is disappointing! I’m Canadian and we don’t not observe Dr. King’s birthday (although I think we should) so I’m sure many Canadian kids wouldn’t understand Martin Luther King Jr’s great contribution to civil rights. It’s a shame that schools don’t take the opportunity to teach about such a significant leader in American history. Although, they have the day off, there should be some kind of observation/activity each and every year prior to the holiday. Perhaps mandated celebrations/observances on a significant date would serve better to honour achievements of great people, rather than a day off, often squandered.

  5. I’m like Colleen and would have politely let them know why they had the day off from school. I’m hoping they would have known who Dr. King was. I would have been happy to tell them about Dr. King. I feel that way about Christmas also. It’s not Santamas! Vikki fm VA

  6. I quizzed all my kids (15, 13, and 10) this morning and am very thankful and relieved to report that they all, independent of each other, know why they don’t have school today and exactly who Martin Luther King, Jr. is.

    Teenagers today DON’T really appreciate the freedoms and privileges that they have…they take it for granted because they didn’t live when those freedoms were fought for. And even learning about them in history class…they just don’t/can’t truly understand. They are a few generations removed…physically and mentally. I don’t want this to sound like I am excusing or justifying. They SHOULD know and understand and appreciate. But I’m finding that teenagers are very self-absorbed….it’s the age. Doesn’t mean that I don’t roll my eyes and want to smack some sense into them sometimes….

    And I agree with Colleen….you should’ve turned around and enlightened them…even if you didn’t go all crazy lady asian ninja on them, it probably would’ve been good for them to know a little as to WHY the were getting this day off from chem homework. 🙂 I’m sorry for your frustration, sadness and heavy heart today. It’s totally deserved. I hope, hope, hope that what you overheard yesterday was not the norm.

  7. I work at a small, college in the midwest and I’m happy to say we have many conversations (outside of the classroom) about diversity and civil rights. It really makes me smile when students make comparisions to the things we deal with today. They do get it. So all is not lost on the younger generation. I wouldn’t say they take things for granted – their reality is different than our reality. It’s up to us to be sure they understand where we were not so many years ago and where we are today.

  8. A few kids don’t make a nation. Most kids know about the civil rights movement and Dr. King. They start learning it in the primary grades. Don’t be disheartened. A lot of children love this holiday.

    • I truly pray they are not the norm because it still breaks my heart. And many of you were right in that I should have said something and gave them a schooling, but I know my personality and what should have been a learning experience would have been me losing my cool, ergo I kept my mouth shut.

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