‘On October 3, 1904, I opened the doors of my school, with an enrollment of five little girls…whose parents paid me fifty cents’ weekly tuition…I considered cash money as the smallest part of my resources. I had faith in a living God, faith in myself, and a desire to serve…That’s how the Bethune-Cookman college campus started.’
Mary McLeod Bethune
I read a very insightful post not too long ago on Linda Fay’s “Higher Up and Further In” blog (see August 21st, “Copywork in Our Home”). What struck me most was her discussion of the purpose of copywork, and one purpose in particular: to expose the student to noble thoughts. Have you heard what happens when children don’t get exposed to good books and great thoughts? An example someone recently shared was of a well-known Christian artist expressing his gratitude by saying, “I’m, like, happy to be here ‘cause, like, it’s a thrill for me and, like, God is, like, HUGE!” (I think you get the picture).
As an expansion of this idea, I try to introduce great heroes of our past and present to our children before they were heroes. Words like the ones above allow children to not only reflect on the thoughts of those who have immortalized themselves with what must have been small, but selfless, acts at the time. Also, these words plant seeds of potential greatness within a child as they see history makers not as unreachable superhumans, but as boys and girls who enjoyed everyday life and used it to spark greatness. As an example, one of my favorite books about the great Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is My Brother Martin, written by his sister, Christine King Farris. We have had the best time reading and laughing about the pranks he played on his parents and the piano teacher. What fun, and what a powerful lesson to our kids about who they are and who they can become.
Years ago, I remember a quote that where you are five years from now is determined by the friends you associate with and the books you read. Who will be our next Mary McLeod Bethunes, or our future Dr. Kings? The answer could be in the next great book you share with your kids.