Dr. Martin Luther King was quite influential in moving the civil rights movement forward. I often wonder who will step into his shoes to keep the momentum going. After much thought, it is not up to one person to add movement behind the defined mission. It is up to each of us to aid in fulfilling the dreams of Dr. King.
RECOGNIZING THE DAY
Dr. King spoke about reaching back and uplifting the community. We have come to expect the third Monday in January as the day we celebrate his birthday. President Bill Clinton signed the Martin Luther King Jr. Federal Holiday and Service Act on August 23, 1994. Since then, many have come to know this as a “day on and not a day off”. It has become a day when we give back and build community in the spirit of Dr. King’s teachings. In my opinion, we should consider reaching back and building our communities every day.
SOWING SEEDS OF SERVICE
As a gardener, I believe in the positive act of sowing seeds of positivity in society. What is required to do this? Believing that you can be a part of the change or at least make a difference. We see the fertile ground, which is identified as the communities where we live. Fertile ground unplanted will attract weeds of all types, some more aggressive than others. We can assess the site, which could be considered recognizing what the community needs.
Tapping into the community, cultivating friendships, and connecting generations – all help in planning for growth. This would equate to deciding what seeds would work as we work towards positive change in our communities.
A FEW “SEEDS” ANYONE CAN SOW
Ever wonder what can be done individually or collectively? Here are a few ideas:
Start a conversation with a neighbor. The act of a simple “Hello” will go a long way. Ignore the color of their skin, language barrier or disability…just say “Hi”.
Explore ways to find something in common. Speaking is the first step. If you continue the conversation or some form of connectivity, positive energy will be exchanged. This is when the real work comes into play. I find that sharing a flower, a dessert, or simple gestures of kindness develops into a sort of camaraderie.
Encourage some type of shared experience to show that you are genuine and honestly want to connect. Sharing a small bouquet, a gardening tip, a good book – you must decide what works to encourage some sort of neighborly friendship and trust.
Determine what, if anything, is needed. Finding out how to keep the conversation going and growing. Figuring out what seeds will grow, in what conditions, and where, is likened to preparing the soil. Soil properly prepared will create an environment for growth.
Share with others your best practices or suggestions on how you encouraged connectivity with a neighbor or community. Sown seeds can fall in places where a positive bloom is needed…often at the right time.
Fifty-two years was how long it took for Dr. King’s birthday to become a recognized Federal holiday. Some entities still do not consider this as a holiday, thereby it is optional to take off or not. If it were not for Dr. King and his legacy, the landscape of an inclusive and caring society would be different. In my opinion, being of service to my community is an everyday mission.
SOWING IT FORWARD
How will I make a difference this year? We should use our strengths to give of ourselves to our communities. I am giving back to my community by sharing the joy of gardening. By creating a conversation about growing in place. Surrounded by Seniors who are limited in mobility, young families struggling to provide, I am encouraging gardening wherever you can.
We will be swapping seeds, giving away pots, and teaching how to find a way to look forward to the gifts of the earth. It will not matter whether it is a flower or a vegetable. Doing this will promote positivity and reinforce trying something new. It will also help develop a feeling that I care and offer hope. Closer to the time for planting, I will provide seedlings from pollinators to specialty vegetables. During a time when we must be responsibly distanced, we can still give what we can to build our communities. It is my way of tapping into my talents to pay it forward,
Do you give back? How will you commit to honoring Dr. King as we move forward in society? Each of us can do what it takes to plant seeds of trust and hope. The world needs this today. Our communities need to be rebuilt from within. We can do this to honor Dr. King.
Sorting seeds to share that I care as I remember the teachings of Dr. King.
Teri, Cottage In The Courtby