Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is a great day to reflect on the accomplishments and enduring legacy of one of our greatest civil rights leaders. Never one to back down from a challenge, Dr. King inspired the world to dream and still does to this very day. His incredible life has left us with many lessons to consider today and every day. Here are just a few to reflect upon during MLK Day.
The rewards that come with perseverance.
Today, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legacy is marked by a string of high-profile achievements. However, when Dr. King was alive, his life was often less-than-celebrated – in fact, the activist was arrested 29 times, lost his home in a bomb explosion set off by segregationists, and was even the victim of an assassination attempt ten years prior to his death in 1968. Yet, even when the going got tough, Dr. King never surrendered his goal of dismantling racist systems of oppression. The takeaway? Stay true to your beliefs and keep moving forward – despite what obstacles lie in your way – and you’ll find success.
The value of serving others.
Dr. King once said that “everybody can be great…because anybody can serve.” The activist centered his entire life around serving others in his community and the nation at-large. He worked tirelessly to motivate others to join his efforts, which he considered to be an act of service to the American people. Why? Well, because Dr. King truly believed that acts of service could improve communities and, as a result, change the world. As we all well-know, Dr. King’s work is not yet done. So, ask yourself: how can you use your talents to help make the world a better place?
The importance of love.
Flip through any book about Dr. King or browse a collection of his most famous quotes, and you’ll likely notice that the activist hardly mentions “hate” in any of his texts. This is because Dr. King was notably anti-hate. He advised others to avoid hating their enemies when he wisely said, “let no man pull you so low as to hate him.” In Dr. King’s mind, to hate someone is to stoop far below one’s standard. And, most importantly, King believed that returning hate with hate resulted in no gain for either party. The next time you feel inclined to treat someone with hate or spite, think of Dr. King’s words and reconsider.
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