The Barbie “Dream Gap” and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day


How do you talk to your kids about what really matters? Our contributor, Wendie, shares a sweet moment she had with her daughter. Taking the time to talk with your little ones about what really matters will change the world! 

My daughter was watching a video of “Barbie Vlogs” the other day on Amazon Prime Video. I noticed she kept pausing and rewinding it to a particular section that caught her attention and asked me to listen to it with her. Barbie explained in the video that her little sister Chelsea was so excited to participate in her class’s elections. Barbie mentioned that Chelsea was vivacious, imaginative, creative, and had great ideas. Chelsea made what she thought was a brilliant suggestion, only for a boy classmate to shoot her idea down. Barbie goes on to mention “the Dream Gap.” This is where young girls begin to doubt themselves. Those precious minds that were so eager to share their insights, hopes, and dreams with the world now find themselves struggling with feeling less than because of some disparaging remarks from others. Remarks that might seem subtle but carry a lot of weight. Words like “oh, you’re just a girl” or “girls can’t do that” to “you are too much/too emotional,” or “not enough,” etc. 

If you look back over your life, Mama, I am sure there was a point in your childhood where you were told those same types of things. You felt your confidence wane a little and your light diminishes within. Maybe you purposely shrank back and became more meek so that others could shine? After all, we should play small, right? What gives us the right to be heard?
My daughter and I chatted about experiences where we started to doubt ourselves and lose confidence because of what others thought. I also explained how Rosa Parks was a woman who just wanted peace. Day after day, no matter how her feet must have ached after a long shift, she was required to give up her seat on the city bus for a white person to ride it. All Rosa probably wanted was to ride the bus in peace and rest herself. Why should she be treated less than solely for the color of her skin? 
Rosa could have kept her mouth shut and kept doing what was “expected” of her. However, Rosa Parks had enough. Though shaky, fearful, and not quite sure of the outcome, Rosa Parks took a stand that December day in 1955 in Alabama. She was told her whole life by society she didn’t measure up and was never going to be equal to anyone. She was not okay with that. Rosa Park’s “no,” along with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s helped change the trajectory of life and the Civil Rights movement. They were not going to sit idly by letting others tell them or their loved ones they were “less than” or “good-for-nothings.” Dr. King saw the potential in others. Where their lights dimmed, he saw hope and a collective and curious and courageous spirit.
He had big hopes and dreams, like many others in this world. Dr. King was bold and took a stand for inclusivity, kindness, and the basic human right to be treated as such and as an equal. 
The exact thing that Barbie was referring to with the “Dream Gap,” Dr. King, Rosa Parks, and countless others have tried to bridge the gap. If you have a young child, I encourage you to talk with them about Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech and break it down in such a way that is understandable for their age group. Compare it to the “Barbie Vlogs” and talk to your kids about the “Dream Gap” and how they can continue to pursue their dreams with confidence. Encourage your kiddo to speak up with their great ideas; remind them they do not need to feel threatened by others if they don’t like or agree. 
This Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, talk about other everyday people and great leaders Dr. King worked with to stop oppressors in their tracks and how his ability to dare to dream helped pave the way for young children everywhere to have the freedom to pursue their hearts’ desires. 
Watch videos, draw pictures, read books from the Civil Rights era, or speak to someone who lived during that time and ask them questions about how their lives were affected and strengthened since then. Study about Dr. King and Rosa Parks and the influential leaders they’ve become and how their involvement will echo through eternity. 
Most of all, remind your kiddos that they are fierce, their ideas matter, and they don’t have to play small nor be small-minded. Instead, encourage them to use their greatness for the common good. After all, “Everybody can be great. Because anyone can serve…You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.” — Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here