Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Martin Luther King and the Seven Habits

“The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically.  Intelligence plus character-that is the goal of true education.”
                                                                                                Dr. Martin Luther King Jr
This week we celebrated the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  Dr. King embodied the 7 habits.  His daily language was proactive; “There has to be a way” instead of “I can’t or “I’ll do it” instead of “I’ll try.”  His life is a testament to begin with the end in mind.  Quotes, scripture, and speeches of Dr. King reverberate with his vision and mission.  “Whatever your life’s work, do it well.”  “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, “What are you doing for others?”  “I have a dream today…”  Even a month before his death, he eloquently spoke of what he wanted to be remembered for and uttered his famous words “Say that I was a drum major for justice.”  He put first things first; he was clear about his priorities and acted on them.
Dr. King searched for the “third alternative” (think win-win) instead of compromising his principles for an easy end to the civil rights struggle.  He practiced and preached nonviolence even in the most violent of situations and strived to understand and be at peace with the views of others (seek first to understand and then be understood).  The Civil Rights movement was synergy in its finest form; people of all backgrounds coming together in the struggle for peace, love, justice, dignity, and equality.  With hoses in their faces, they marched.  With dogs barking, they marched.  Houses were bombed and still they marched.  Buses stopped and still they marched.  Dr. King’s vision for a better world and his ability to bring people together changed the history of our country and the world.
At Cooper, we believe strongly in “Learning and Leading” by cultivating the potential in each child.  We strive to create a culture where everyone is respected and valued.  As a Leader in Me school, we strive to develop skills and attitudes that bridge cultural differences such as empathy, active listening, and appreciation for multiple cultural perspectives. 
Recently we shared Sean Covey’s article on how building strong leaders helps prevent bullying in schools.  Bullying includes a person willfully and repeatedly exercising power or control over another with hostile or malicious intent that is reasonably perceived as being motivated either by any actual or perceived characteristic, such as race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, and expression or a mental, physical, or sensory disability or impairment; or by any other distinguishing characteristic.  Being a social justice leader means finding the courage to be an “upstander” in any context, speaking up against biased jokes and language, and pointing out injustice during discussions in the community and school.  As parents and teachers, we have the power to lead by example in issues of diversity and justice and thus demonstrate a commitment to creating a better world.

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