• Manderson

"Me First!" A Perspective on MLK Jr.

January 21st is the day our nation has set aside to remember the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Such a great intellect and moral character, taken from us far too soon. I recognize that it is difficult, perhaps impossible, to separate Dr. King’s life and message from the political arena. So, please understand that my intent here is to recognize and remember Dr. King, not to make a political statement.


I have chosen this quote from Dr. King for today’s blog post because it captures much of the essence of his peaceful message. Not only that, however, I think it also captures the essence of the caliber of individual who would choose to serve at Special Friends Camp.


“Keep feeling the need for being first. But I want you to be the first in love. I want you to be the first in moral excellence. I want you to be the first in generosity.”

– Martin Luther King, Jr.


When two of my grandchildren were given a toy to share, they found themselves arguing over who would have it first. My son (you know, Bryan Anderson of Special Friends Camp fame) interrupted to ask, “OK, who wants to be the first to let the other go first?” Upon hearing only half of the question, the 4-year-old excitedly raised her hand and shouted, “Me, me!!” When the second half of the question sunk in, the hand came down, the brow furrowed, and her answer became, “Wait! What?”

I think we all understand her furrowed brow. The question, as Bryan presented it, seems to turn the world on its head. Will you dare to ask yourself that question? From something as simple as holding a door and letting someone else go through to something as involved as committing two weeks of your summer to work at SFC, will you take advantage of opportunities to step-up and be first to put someone else first? 


In a time when there seems to be an epidemic amount of “me first” attitude in our world, I am grateful to be a part of this selfless endeavor called Special Friends Camp. When there is a need for sacrifice at camp, I am in awe of how the staff eagerly and regularly steps in and shouts, “me first!” The love, moral character and generosity to which Dr. King alluded is self-evident here.

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