MLK – Words to Inspire

January 15th, 2010

I like to use quotes from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (MLK). I use them to improve my attitude or get over some bad news, in emails and on my Facebook page. My two favorites are: “If you can’t fly, run. If you can’t run, walk. If you can’t walk, crawl, but by all means keep moving.” and “I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.” My husband and I like to recite them to our children. Of course, I say them in my regular voice. My husband likes to get all dramatic and use his MLK voice (which is really quite good – but I’ll never admit that to him). The kids laugh, but they listen as we discuss how each one can be applicable to their lives. Some of our favorite MLK teaching quotes are:

• Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.
• Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. And so we must straighten our backs and work for our freedom. A man can’t ride you unless your back is bent.
• The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy
• We will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.

We like the quotes of MLK because the words inspire. Additionally, because like most children, ours are spoiled rotten, we like his quotes because the words encourage helping others:

• Life’s most urgent question is: What are you doing for others?
• An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.
• Everybody can be great… because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.

Last year at this time, the country was riding high on the inauguration of President Barack Obama. It was impossible to ignore the correlation between the birthday of the greatest civil rights leader ever and the installation of the first African-American into the highest position in our country. Volunteerism was a focus of that heady inaugural week and continues to be a focus of President Obama’s administration. Are you involved in volunteering on MLK Day or throughout the year? What about MLK quotes – do you have a favorite? How has it inspired you?