What is your Life’s Blueprint, Middletown?

By Jeri Lewis

January 15, 2018, is the remembrance of Dr. Martin Luther Kings birth. In the city of Middletown for the whole month of January, a number of groups gather in remembrance, but it is a story of a young father and his son’s that has left a lasting impression on me. After the march from the City building was canceled due to weather, it was the heart of a dad that decided he shall overcome anyway and brave the winter storm. Not only did he brave it, but so did 8 other community members, including his 2 sons.

The route of choice seemed obvious as they laced their boots and bundled up in layers of winter coats and pants. They met at Rosa Parks Elementary and began the cold march to Sonny Hill Community Center, where CBI’s Center Director Marie Edwards opened the doors. Edwards also walked with the group. “I was contacted by a Father who still wanted to March with his children in honor of Dr. King.  He asked me if I could open up the community center to gather & pray after Marching from Rosa Parks.  9 people gathered in the Spirit of Dr. King & marched the mile or so and then gathered at the community center to watch excerpts from the speech “What is in your Life’s Blueprint,” and discussed and shared its significance in our lives. It was small, intimate, but highly spirited!  I was honored to be a part of a movement that despite the weather or number of people who attended, we still “moved forward.”    

NAACP Middletown President Dora Bronston has been involved 20 years in marches and breakfast. She was sad they canceled this year’s group march due to weather conditions  “The safety and protection of our adults and youth who were going to be marching and participating in our program was utmost importance.” When I asked Bronston her thoughts on a small group marching despite the weather she said: “I am glad to know that our young adults are aware of what the day is about and that a father wanted to show his sons by doing a march.”

So who is this father that stood firm and taught his boys an important lesson in history? Jarren Dean, a lifelong resident of Middletown, Ohio. I would say Jarren gave the best tangible example to his boys today and our community as a whole. I believe Dr. King would be proud. Not only did this father discuss their blueprint, but he walked it today by not letting a couple inches of snow stop them from honoring Dr. King and his message.

I want to suggest some of the things that should begin your life’s blueprint. Number one in your life’s blueprint should be a deep belief in your own dignity, your worth and your own somebodiness. Don’t allow anybody to make you feel that you’re nobody. Always feel that you count. Always feel that you have worth, and always feel that your life has ultimate significance.

Secondly, in your life’s blueprint, you must have as the basic principle the determination to achieve excellence in your various fields of endeavor. You’re going to be deciding as the days, as the years unfold what you will do in life — what your life’s work will be. Set out to do it well.” Exert from Dr. Martin Luther King’s speech to a group of students at Barratt Junior High School in Philadelphia on October 26, 1967. 

What is your Blueprint Middletown? How are your words matching your action? We can all learn a lot from Dr.King and this group of 9 in our own community. Take time to realize you count and have significance. What are you doing in your life and are you doing it well?

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Photo credit Jason Hightower