The Six Guiding Beliefs of Dr. King

By Reed Gabhart, Head of the Goshen Campusmlk

While sitting inside, warm, admiring the view on our first snow day of the winter, I thought I’d take a look back out at our annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. assembly last Friday.

Alexandra Thurstone led off the assembly by sharing some of her favorite Dr. King quotations. Here is one that stood out, 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. As our students absorbed and reflected on these quotes, I followed up by asking the young ones in the front if Dr. King believed in using force to achieve one’s goals. Of course even our primary students knew that he advocated peaceful means of social change. After that, we were in for a real treat. School Librarian Lindsy Serrano and Spanish teacher Salema Jenkins put together a slideshow presentation entitled “Martin Luther King’s Six Guiding Beliefs.” They narrated the presentation, and after each principle there was a slide featuring one of our students and his/her response to the belief. The six principles were:

  • “Have courage”
  • “Love your enemies” (Jude Sleadd’s response to this was, “If there is a person who bullies you, it would confuse them if you were nice to them.”)
  • “Fight the problem, not the person who caused it.”
  • “Resist violence of any kind.”
  • “When innocent people are hurt, it inspires others to help.”
  • “The universe honors love.” (A group of 2nd and 3rd graders responded thus: “Fight violence with love. Use kind words. We will use kind words. Sometimes our words can hurt more than physical violence.”

After this very meaningful slideshow, Kim Aberle led a group of Lower School students in the song, I Have a Dream. The juxtaposition of their sweet, innocent voices with the historical impact of the message was devastatingly powerful. I showed a clip of Dr. King speaking to close the assembly, this time from the “To the Mountaintop” speech. Many of the kids reported having goosebumps at the end.

This is one of my favorite assemblies of the year. The students have a different demeanor during it, a definite sense of gravity and awareness that they are witnessing something historic and vital to the progress of the U.S. and the world. The challenge now, as then, is to take these principles and put them into action in our daily lives. We will try to help the students do that, just the same as all of us struggle at times to do what we know in our hearts is right.