I’ve had an appreciation for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. since my parents took me to Atlanta on a spring break as a sophomore in high school. His burial site, his church–they resonated with me in ways that still make an impact today. Take your pick:
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
Immediately, starting with my administrative tasks and now moving into my work with the Behavioral Sciences department, Utrecht University has shown me light. Every single person has been willing to work with me, providing me with knowledge about their parent/child research questions–and about how to turn on the printer. The light has shown throughout the university.
The light has shown through the neighborhood as well. We’ve been invited to people’s homes and thrown into the neighborhood chat threads. We’ve become fast friends with some on Facebook, already liking each other’s pictures of kids doing whatever kids do.
Also, the Fulbright Distinguished Teacher cohort–LIGHT! Jana, Celine, Will & Andrea, and Nikki & I have been together two times already with the third meeting already set up. These people are smart and funny and up for adventure. It is our mutual bond.
Each component of my time here is lightness. If those of us with light just keep spreading it–even when the darkness is really dark, we can and will prevail.
“The time is always right to do what is right.”
Just our being here in the Netherlands is Dr. King’s message. It’s not always easy: the girls miss their friends, some food takes adjusting, transportation takes some getting used to. But it is always right to do what is right and giving our girls time in another culture–to see, hear, taste, touch, and smell all that is different–is just not wrong.
“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?'”
I am often worried about my ego inside of The Share Chair Podcast project. Why am I doing this? I try so hard to make sure my reasons are in their purest form and, today, after reflecting on Dr. King’s thoughts, I am sure they are. I want students to feel connection. That’s all. I am willing (and wanting) to do the work to make that happen, but the end goal is for others. I know that for us to be our best world, each person has to be his or her best self. I also know we grow personally by the influence of others. This podcast, this project, this time in the Netherlands is for that: connection for the betterment of all.
I know Dr. King was a Civil Rights leader, but he’s more than that. He’s a moral compass for us all and reflecting on his teachings today allowed me to view my own experience through his teachings.