The meaning and message of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s life is simple, whatever obstacle you’re facing, you can overcome it. The life of Dr. King reminds us that the greatest leaders are the greatest servants. Let us reflect upon the commitment of Dr. King to the advancement of humanity, in the midst of challenging times. As we look through the lens of life, we are truly living in challenging times. More than ever before, we must be analytical and critical thinkers. We must think critically in the chaotic times that we live in.
There are a myriad of pressing issues pervading our world today: the economy, health care, poverty, gun control, and violence to name a few. Yet education remains preeminent because as our education system goes, so goes our nation.
The question that we must ask ourselves is “what can I do to make the world a better place?” Not just presently but for future generations. There indeed is a great work for all of us to do. We must labor in order to reap a plentiful reward. There are no shortcuts in life, if you take shortcuts you will get cut short. We must understand that there is power in our productivity!
The Greek philosopher Aristotle declared, “we are what we repeatedly do.” What are you doing on a daily basis to repeatedly be successful? Who are you surrounding yourself with? Your relationships and friendships have a direct
impact on your future. I can tell the outcome of your future based on your present friendships. What words are you saying? Are you speaking negativity to yourself and others? You can create or destroy your future by the words that you use. Speak life and begin to empower yourself and others.
It is said that in Martin Luther King, Jr.‘s early life, he would spend hours reading books. While growing up in Atlanta, Georgia he literally drove adults crazy because of his curiosity that always evoked questions. Even as a young boy, he worried about people who didn’t have enough to eat. King was an extraordinarily intelligent individual who graduated high school at the age of fifteen.
Even at a young age, Martin had a strong sense of destiny. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Morehouse College at the age of nineteen. He went on to earn a Theology degree from Crozer Theological Seminary and spent time in the state of Massachusetts attending Boston University, earning his Doctorate
degree in Systematic Theology. It is evident that the life of Dr. King was accelerated beyond his peers and young years, because little did he know that he only had 39 years of life to change a generation.
None of us know how much time we have. It’s imperative that we live each day on purpose, with purpose, and for a purpose. Just like Dr. King, you are on a crash course with destiny. It’s time to unearth and dig up the greatness that’s on the inside of you. You are special, you are significant, you are gifted and valuable. You are a red box and gold bow, because you are a gift to the world. Everyone of us is gifted, but the tragedy is that some people never open their package.
The best of you and me resides in the power of our psychology, the power of our mentality, spirituality, and the enormity of our destiny. We must expand the parameters of our minds and think BIG. If your vision, if your idea, if your dream is affordable, then you’re not dreaming BIG enough.
Why try to fit in, when you were born to stand out? It’s time to embrace your uniqueness. You’re too extraordinary to be ordinary, so manifest your destiny. This is your day to pursue your purpose, overcome obstacles, and become a preeminent voice for your generation.
We must bridge our differences and embrace the power of our diversity to learn from one another, grow together, and overcome every adversity. We must see strength in diversity, rather than weakness and adversity in diversity. Our diversity should unite us, not divide us.
Our communities are at an intersection and it’s either education or incarceration. Maybe not physically, but it can be a psychological imprisonment. We must empower our youth to recognize and realize that prison is not a rights of passage. Our youth don’t have to serve 4 years in a prison house, but they can graduate in 4 years from Morehouse...not prison but Princeton.
We have become so connected and interconnected today in our wired and wireless world, that we have adopted an “all about me” mentality. The names of technology devices reflect our selfish mindset, to where it seems as if everybody has an Ipod, Ipad, or Iphone in addition to a FACEbook and YOUTube. We have more but we do less with it.
Dr. King never had an email address, cell phone, Twitter account or access to other technological amenities, yet he still mobilized a movement with his mind. What resources will you use to uplift the masses? Don’t tell me that you don’t have the power to empower yourself. You have power in your mind and hands, how will you use it? You are your greatest resource. Everything you need is inside of you because there’s a King inside of you.
For to whom much is given, much is required. You have been given much and much more is required of you to enhance our world.
Whether Black, White, Asian, Hispanic or any other ethnicity, regardless of background, we are American and the last four letters in the word American is “I- Can.” You can move forward. You can achieve success. You can uplift the lives of others. You can think outside of the box. They will put you in a box when you're dead, so while you’re alive you might as well think outside of the box.
This is the year and this is the time to expand the parameters of your mind. Begin to think outside of the box and approach every obstacle with dogmatic determination, as a stimulus to reach the apex of opportunity.
It’s argued that no one did that more in the last 50 years than Dr. King. He was one who believed in justice and freedom for all. He also believed in establishing the beloved community, where love and peace are the governing norms and guiding principles of society.
Regardless of anyone’s race, Dr. King stood for truth, justice, liberation, and freedom as the governing norms of society. He always talked about non-violence and expressing love in spite of hate. You can’t talk about Dr. King without emphasizing non-violence, you can’t talk about King without emphasizing the beloved community, and you can’t talk about him without talking about the dream that he had. It was more than just a dream because he was not just a utopian dreamer, but he was a dreamer who believed in the relevance and reality of equality. He was one who challenged America. He challenged the governmental construct and the conscience of society.
Dr. King became the moral conscience of America. He challenged our nation and even the world in a greater context, to “learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.” He proclaimed that “the true measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of crisis, challenge, and controversy.”
We must understand that Dr. King was not just for black people but he was for the oppressed, underserved, overlooked, and underrepresented. He was for everybody, whether it was poor Whites, Blacks, Hispanics, and Asians. He spoke out against the Vietnam War on April 4, 1967, exactly one year before he was killed, saying “these Vietnamese people have not done anything to us and yet these innocent people are being killed for no other reason, other than to make America rich.”
Dr. King talked about the triple evils of society: war, poverty, and violence. He talked about racism and that’s why he launched a war on poverty saying “how can America be the richest nation in the world, yet people literally go to sleep hungry every night, how can America boast of being the richest nation in the world and yet we have folks sleeping on park benches and people not getting a good education, how can we go about as the richest nation in the world and not take care of our own people?”
Dr. King never attacked people personally, he attacked their policies and the issues. He went to the root of the problem and the heart of the matter. Just as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. empowered others and stood up for equality and ethics,
so can YOU!
There’s a King inside of you to challenge the systems of society, there’s a King in you that will expand the parameters of your mind and the minds surrounded by you, there’s a King in you that will dream and not only dream but take action. There’s a King in you that will uplift education, do something good in your neighborhood, and empower surrounding communities. There’s a King in you
that has compassion for the least of these, those who are impoverished and disadvantaged. There’s a King in you that will invent, invest, and imbibe power and purpose into the lives of others. We must dream, we must strive, we must succeed and we must do it so well that the living, dead or unborn, couldn’t do it any better.
As we remember Dr. King and his dream, I encourage you to press on and keep on pressing. As Dr. King declared, “if you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl.” Whatever you do maximize every moment, live through dying places, see impossible as I’m possible, delete the letter “T” from the word can’t and transform it into CAN. It’s your time to turn every stumbling block into stepping stones, transform haters into elevators, use every bit of negative steam to power your dream, transform every hurt into healing, think positive in negative situations, and keep your mind on your mission.
Be relentless, be radical, be revolutionary, be resilient and birth the King that’s inside of you. This is your time to bless the world with your gifts and talents. Go for it!
Eddie Connor http://www.eddieconnor.com