Particularly in the past few years, the topics of acceptance inclusion, and standing up for one another — for humankind as a whole — have come to the forefront. These leadership lessons, and the recognition that one person can truly make a difference, are important to learn at any time, but especially in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.


Whether schools are closed that day or not, the lessons that Martin Luther King Jr. taught just by living his own truth resonate today. Apex Leadership Co. offers some ways to recognize this holiday, and the man behind it, at home and in the classroom — through his own words.


Looking back at some of his most profound speeches

Particularly his legendary “I Have a Dream” speech — Martin Luther King Jr. spoke of love, hope, faith, forgiveness, speaking up, doing what’s right, and perseverance. These are topics that never go out of style and are appropriate to teach at any age. A fun way to help students learn about Martin Luther King Jr. is through some of his most memorable and relatable quotes.


“The time is always right to do what is right.”

It sounds simple enough but doing what’s right isn’t always easy. Students may be hesitant to stand out from the crowd. But doing what’s right feels good on the inside and living up to one’s own standards, versus following the masses is vital to learn at a young age. 


“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

This is a beautiful and inspiring tribute to the benefits of being positive and the importance of love. With this simple phrase, Martin Luther King Jr. reminds people all over the world not to get overcome by negativity, spite, and bitterness, and instead fight it with positivity and love. 


“I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.”

Again speaking about love and hate, MLK was a leader who knew that love is much more powerful than hate.  


“We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.”

Martin Luther King Jr., although an optimist, was also a realist. True, life has disappointments and no one’s life is smooth sailing 100 percent of the time. However, having hope can help one stay the course in rough waters. 


“Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”

This is another great lesson to encourage students to keep going and persevere even when they might not have all the answers or know exactly what path they are going on to take. Just taking one step at a time toward their dreams and desires can help them get there.


“We may have all come on different ships, but we’re in the same boat now.”

This is a wonderful quote that can serve to unite people and help students understand the importance of inclusion and acceptance. Working together as a whole is much easier than working against each other in divisiveness. No one’s story or past is exactly the same, but acceptance and understanding can go a long way towards finding unity and equality.


Martin Luther King Jr. had a dream… as does every child and human out there. Encouraging them to follow their dreams is a powerful job for parents, guardians, and teachers. Apex Leadership Co. invites parents, guardians, and teachers to share some of these timeless quotes of inspiration with children and students this MLK Day.