Posts Tagged ‘I Have a Dream’

Pike with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at a pre...

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at a press conference after the march to Selma, Alabama. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today as we celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., my mind easily goes to the topic of leadership.  On this day we pay tribute to the life and work of one of the greatest leaders the world has ever known.

In what is often referred to as the “I Have a Dream” speech, there are some profound insights into what it takes to be a truly great leader.

Great leaders refuse to accept the status quo: In fact, I would say that this is the defining characteristic of real leaders.  They are not indifferent; they are active and unwilling to agree to their status and circumstance.

Great leaders do not sugar-coat reality: This speech came at a critical point in the civil rights movement.  Dr. King did not pull any punches.  He faced the most brutal facts of his current reality.

Great leaders engage the heart: While logic may require the mind, stories and metaphors move the heart.  This is the difference between sharing information and inspiration.  Dr. King was a master of captivating hearts.

Great leaders call people to act with their highest values: It would have been easy for the civil rights movement to change strategy and resort to violence as some did.  However, just like Nelson Mandela when he became president of South Africa, Dr. King called people to a higher ground.

Great leaders refuse to settle: It would have been easy for Dr. King to surrender his principles and to have settled for less than his vision, but he was stubborn in a good way.  He was persistent and called people to persevere.

Great leaders cast vision and hope for a better tomorrow: Leaders can never grow tired of sharing their clear and relevant vision.  They have to help their followers see a vivid picture of hope as Dr. King did so effectively.

The “I Have a Dream” speech is full of lessons in leadership. 

In the spirit of this holiday, take time to sit down with your family and read or watch the entire speech.  You may find it on YouTube.

It will change forever the way you understand Martin Luther King Day.

written by Jim Shearer for Leading Hearts: the Spirit Ranch Blog; http://spiritranch.us/reflectiononagreatleader

by Carey Casey http://fathers.com/what-mlk-taught-me-about-how-to-be-a-dad

“We don’t take black money.”

Those were the cruel words my father-in-law, Dr. Little, heard when he was a young man at a public golf course in 1959.

“Good,” he responded.  “Because money is green.”

He left his cash on the counter, turned around, and walked out the door to go play a round of golf.

Later, he and his friends were escorted away by police for playing on a “whites only” course. Rather than exploding into a violent rage, as many others would have done, Dr. Little stayed calm and held his head high during his arrest.

That highly publicized event and his example of a dignified man were instrumental in the future of the golf course, which would be integrated a few years later.

On MLK Day, I find myself reflecting on my father-in-law’s story.  I am also reminded that Dr. King’s famous “I have a dream” speech was about being a father.  It was about envisioning the future he wanted for his children, and then working to make that dream a reality.

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character,” he said.

We can all learn something from Dr. King, Dr. Little, and Championship Fathers across the globe …

More important than a man’s circumstances—his race, his socioeconomic status, his custodial or marital situation—is the way in which he handles his circumstances and envisions the future.

Do you model self-control?  Do you remain calm and rational, even when others are becoming bitter … perhaps even violent?  Can you hold your head high because you know you are acting like the dignified man you want your children to see?  Do you communicate to your children that the world is a good place and that the future is bright and colorful?

Or do you act as though the world is a bleak place to live?

When I think about what other fathers—black, white, Asian, Latino, poor, rich, married, divorced—have been through, I am motivated to hold the mantle just as high and to walk with dignity.

I am reminded to be mindful about what my children see through my eyes and how they envision the future.

What are your deepest longings for the world in which your children grow up?  How do you want them to see you?  The future?

Let this holiday be not just about civil rights, but also about Championship Fathering.  Tell your children what you dream for them.

My dad was there for Dr. King’s speech in Washington, D.C., August 1963.  Years later, I said to my dad, “I wish I could have been a grown-up back in 1963, when all that was happening with civil rights.”

My dad said, “No, Son, you’re going to be part of something even greater.”

Today, I’m convinced he was right.

Carey Casey is the CEO of the National Center for Fathering, a nonprofit organization dedicated to changing the culture of fathering in America by enlisting 6.5 million fathers who to make the Championship Fathering Commitment. NCF believes that every child needs a dad they can count on, and uses its resources to inspire and equip men to be the involved fathers, grandfathers and father figures their children need.