Reflection on MLK’s “What is Your Life’s Blueprint?”

Reflecting on the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a beloved Morehouse Man, I chose this speech because it speaks directly to the current reality of our lives as some of us transition into our own classrooms for the first time, some out of the classroom into other endeavors, and others continuing to teach.

Many of us have gone or will go through a time in our life when we have to consider and answer three very important questions: What will my life become?, What do I have to offer to the world?, and How does my God-given gift bring peace and justice to the world? I believe that each of us has in some way discovered at least part of an answer to some if not all of those questions. In doing so, we are creating our blueprint for our lives. Dr. King offered three critical points in which to add in our life’s blueprint: A deep belief in your own dignity, your worth, and your own somebodiness, the basic principle of excellence in all of our fields of endeavors, and lastly have a commitment to the eternal principles of beauty, love, and justice.

  1. A deep belief in your own dignity, your own worth, and your own somebodiness.
    1. Don’t allow anybody to make you feel less than what God has created you to be.
    2. Your life has ultimate significance.
    3. Believe in your heart that you are beautiful, no matter what social constructs define as beautiful.
  2. The basic principle of determination to achieve excellence in your various fields of endeavors.
    1. Whatever you set out to do in your life, whatever your life’s work will be, do it with a sense of excellence!
    2. Do anything you put your hands to so well that living, the dead, or the unborn cannot do it any better.
    3. “If you can’t be a pine in the top of the hill, be a scrub in the valley, but be the best little scrub on the side of the hill. Be a bush, if you can’t be a tree. If you can’t be a highway just be a trail. For it isn’t by size that you win or fail.”
  3. Commitment to the eternal principles of beauty, love, and justice.
    1. No matter your age, you have a responsibility to seek to make life better for everybody.
    2. You must be involved in the struggle for freedom and justice!

These key points build an impressive blueprint that leads to the foundation for your life. Without these fundamental principles, you cannot be effective in the classrooms in which you serve, in the relationships you have, or even in the world in which you live. So I challenge you to think about what you have in your blueprint. Do you have a solid foundation from which to build or are you building on sinking sand?

-Armani Alexander, Class of 2018