Dr. Martin Luther King, a Tribute: Dreams for Our Children Today

In honor of Dr. King and his dream: 10 moms of today share their hopes and dreams for their own children.

-April Daniels Hussar, BettyConfidential.com

"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."

As we remember and celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., I am always drawn back to the part of his seminal "I Have a Dream" speech where he talks of his children, and his hopes for their future. It's something every parent can relate to - our biggest dreams being reserved for that part of our heart that lives outside of us, our babies.

What is my dream for my own daughter? And do I believe that the future of our world is bright enough for those dreams to come true?

My dream for my Isabella is that she grows up with a sense of possibility, that she knows internal strength and confidence, that she never feels a lack of love or support. I dream that she will be bold, and kind, and compassionate, and that the doors that she knocks on will open to her as equally as they would to anyone else.

Am I hopeful?

That's a tougher question - there is so much to be frightened of and discouraged about in the world … but ultimately, yes, I do have hope. I believe in the basic goodness of humanity, and, though sometimes it feels like we're moving at a snail's pace - with many steps back as we stride forward, I do believe that we are moving toward a better world. I may watch Mad Med and drool over the clothes, but I thank God I'm not raising my daughter in that world of not-so-long ago, a world rife with racism and sexism. It really wasn't that long ago.

Thank you, Dr. King, for being so integral a person in the creation of today's world, the world my daughter has inherited.

In his honor, I asked nine other moms to share their own dreams for their children, and asked them if they feel hopeful about their childrens' future in today's world…

Cathy Hale, www.MommyQ.com

What do you dream for your children?
My dream is for my children to become the people they are meant to be. Whether my boys are destined to be musicians or artists or athletes or philanthropists, I hope they embrace their dreams and live life to the fullest. I hope they try to shine in the face of adversity and do not feel discouraged when obstacles appear to be insurmountable. My dream for them is to be confident in who they are and never feel an ounce of regret when they look back on their own lives.

Read MommyQ on BettyConfidential!

Do you have hope for their future, in today's world?
Even in this topsy-turvy world, I have tremendous hope for a bright future for my children. Despite the tragedies, suffering, pain and sadness we face as a society, the world is still brimming with loving, generous, kindhearted, amazing people. I know so many fantastic parents who not only do everything in their power to make the world a better place for their own kids, but also for everyone in their community and beyond. This kind of genuine love and compassion fuels my hope for a brighter future for us all.

Next: "His message lives on today, a symbol of which was seen the day my White husband and I got married, without restrictions..."

Carol Cain, The Adventures of a NY City Mama

What is your dream for your children?
My greatest dream for my children is that they embrace the freedom to pursue their own dreams without fear or insecurities. If they ever feel defeated, I hope they remember that many people fought and stood up against far worse so that they could be here.

Do you feel hopeful for their future, in today's world?
I feel very hopeful. As a child of immigrants I know about many of the struggles and hardships my parents faced -- not only as immigrants, but as people of color, and yet they succeeded in this country. Things are not by any means perfect, but despite whatever challenges my parents might have faced, they had opportunities because of the changes in our society, because of Martin Luther King and many others who embraced his messages and ideologies. It made my parents' life easier, which made my life easier, and allows me to pass this on to my kids.

The civil rights movement and all the empowerment it gave people opened up doors and called for change that didn't die even when Dr. King passed. His message lives on today, a symbol of which was seen the day my White husband and I got married, without restrictions, and in the days I can eat and sit where ever I'd like without fear, hardly noticed by others, and in the days in which my biracial children can happily walk with their parents without the threat of violence. Should I forget, these are the things that make me hopeful for their future and grateful for Dr. King's role in it.

Kim Stagliano, author of All I Can Handle I'm No Mother Teresa (A Life Raising Three Daughters with Autism), www.kimstagliano.com

What is your dream for your children?
I dream of a safe life for them, full of meaningful work or play, surrounded by people who will look out for them when I am not with them.

Do you feel hopeful for their future, in today's world?
Hopeful? I have to. Despite the discouraging news we're bombarded with in our 24/7 news world, I simply HAVE to be hopeful for them. Otherwise I might not get out of bed.

I hope that Dr. King's message of a full and vibrant life of equality for all of us still resonates. There are days when I feel the nation has taken steps backward and hatred and sanctioned bigotry is returning. I pray that is not the case. Dr. King made the ultimate sacrifice so that people like my own girls, who are "different" because of their autism, have basic rights and dignity.

Next: ""How can we feel hopeful in a world where I fear a trip to Target may end in disaster?"

Stephanie Elliot, MaNiC MoMMy

What is your dream for your children?
My dream for my children is that they grow up to be happy and well adjusted. I don't care that they grow up to be Presidents or hugely successful and rich. I want them to be happy and healthy. That's all. I want them to know that they have been loved and cherished their whole lives and that they knew they could come talk to mom and dad about anything anytime they felt they needed to. So far, at ages 9, 11 and 13, I think they feel this way.

Do you feel hopeful for their future, in today's world?
I actually don't feel very much hope for the future. In just the past week in my own state of Arizona, where we have only lived for seven months, there was a hostage situation in a local mall, and then the shooting of Gabrielle Giffords occurred as well. How can we feel hopeful in a world where I fear a trip to Target may end in disaster? I know I can't live my life in fear, but at the moment, with incidents like this so close to home, this is what's on my mind. I do "hope" the future gets better, because without hope, we have nothing, but right now, let's say I am cautiously optimistic and I hold my children very close to my heart at all times.

Christon Koh, BostonMamas.com

What is your dream for your children?
That they will be confident and happy and inspired in life -- that they will find their passion and follow it, even (especially!) if it's not what everyone else is doing.

Do you feel hopeful for their future, in today's world?
Admittedly, I do feel concerned about some of the things I see in modern parenting and life, and also when I see clique-y/comparison type issues already happening for my oldest daughter -- she's only in first grade! But Laurel has a lot of love and support and many wonderful role models and we talk very openly about things (and I hope we can continue to do so, even in the tough adolescent years). So yes, I feel hopeful for her (and her arriving-in-March sister's) future.

Laurel and I have spent a lot of time talking about Martin Luther King. She has had a lot questions following the things she learned about MLK in school, and it has provided a good opportunity to talk about how much he did to work for equality for seemingly simple things such as where to sit on a bus or where to eat, to larger things such as where to go to school. I also felt that it was important for Laurel to know that it's not just a black and white issue. I know it's kind of heavy but talking about MLK allowed a jumping off point for me to give her a (small, age appropriate) window into the discrimination I experienced as a low income Asian living in a 99 percent Caucasian, wealthy Boston suburb. I think having it come from mommy drove the point - that we need to respect and care for one another as humans, regardless of things such as skin color or socioeconomic background - very effectively.

Also visit Christine at Popdiscourse.com and on her Life.Style show

Julie Ryan Evans, TheStir.com

What is your dream for your children?
My dream is for my children to remain in awe of the world and its opportunities and to passionately embrace anything and everything they do. I want them to make a difference in the lives of others, take on challenges, and not be afraid to fail. Above all, my daily prayer is for my children to be healthy and happy.

Do you feel hopeful for their future, in today's world?
I not only feel hopeful for their future, I feel confident in it. While the sadness and despair in the world feel overwhelming at times, there is so much more beauty and goodness that we must believe in and fight for -- just like Dr. King did.

Next: "All great things start with a dream, and they are never as out of reach as they may seem."

Courtney Cachet, www.courtneycachet.com

What is your dream for your children?
That they never experience a lack of anything, whether it is health, security or love. That they grow up knowing they can be whomever they aspire to be, that they can do anything. And I hope they are as sweet and kind as they are today.

Do you feel hopeful for their future, in today's world?
I am hopeful just as I believe my parents were hopeful. Every generation has its shortcomings and inevitable changes. I think we all worry a little bit too much. You can't embrace life -- and its many joys -- if you keep worrying about how many hours your child is in front of the television. If you sit down and read a book together, problem solved!

I am teaching my daughter Brooke that Martin Luther King, Jr. was a man who fought for change through love and peace. He was never violent; there was no inflammatory rhetoric just a passion for what is just, what is right. All great things start with a dream, and they are never as out of reach as they may seem.

Melissa Chapman, www.marriedmysugardaddy.com

What is your dream for your children?
That they find their passion-whatever it may be-something that motivates and inspires them to get up every morning and spring out of bed and feel like they have a purpose that fulfills them. I want them to be able to live their lives as fully, openly and passionately as possible and to seize every minute of every day, in spite of any obstacles or struggles that may befall them.

Do you feel hopeful for their future, in today's world?
YES! I think as a society we have made progress in so many areas, in terms of race and sexual orientation acceptance, tolerance for other's beliefs and religions and of course in technological and medical advances. And I see that our kids are like unspoiled vessels, just waiting to be filled with goodness … and if we fill them with it, and send them out into the world, with the hope and belief that they can aspire to greatness … I'm hoping they will!

Amy Boshnack, TheStir.com

What is your dream for your children?
My dream is for them to be able to grow up to be happy, healthy, productive adults. I want them to understand how lucky they are to have the opportunities they have by living in this country.

Do you feel hopeful for their future, in today's world?
I do feel hopeful but I also worry about the anger that exists around the world, and specifically, in our country. I suppose it is no worse than in decades past, it's just the issues that are different. Oh, and I happen to be raising kids now so I am actually thinking about what they will inherit!

My kids are still young so what I tell them at this age is that there was a time in America when everyone wasn't treated the same ... That Martin Luther King Jr. was a great man who fought to help make sure that all people were allowed to do things equally.

Tell us: Do you feel hopeful about the world our children are inheriting?

Check out some more from BettyConfidential.com: