[Book Review] Rules from the Martin Luther King extended family are espoused by MLK’s niece in the book KING RULES. The book contains interesting annecdotes and certainly some good solid advice, but openly leverages the KING name somewhat.
I enjoyed the book. Alveda has nailed some important values! More on them in a minute.
The book was easy to read. For the record I normally read a book in reverse . . . scanning the contents and intros to get an overview of what the book is about, then slipping to the tail-end to read postscripts, the final chapter, closing words & thoughts and then working backwards chapter by chapter until I have a good handle on the author’s subjects and take. I’ve found it rare that this approach fails to work for me and ensures that if I get distracted I still have the big-picture. Doing this with King Rules again worked well for me. Working through a book from the beginning in order more often than not causes me to frustration with unfinished reading and more often than not an incomplete picture.
It must be hard living in the shadow of fame. Martin Luther King was Alveda’s uncle and she makes plenty of references to him. Not being of American extraction and having just missed his impact I found this a distraction but the subjects she covers are really solid and are worthy of repeating.
RULE NO. 1: MAKE HOME A PRIORITY
After sharing personal annecodotes Alveda finishes with:
For us, in the King family, a real home has God at the heart of it. God is love, and love abounds in a home where God is honored. In our family rooms, around our kitchen and dining room tables, at our bedside on our knees, we talk about God and we talk to God. We pray together in corporate settings, and we pray alone with God in our secret places in our homes.
Home is about knowing that there are such certain truths as these; knowing that spiritual values—God-honoring values—are so much more important than any material possessions will ever be; knowing that if God isn’t at the center of our beings, we aren’t really going to become or achieve anything truly worthwhile. The spiritual value of all existence should be very evident in every home.
RULE NO. 2: SERVE YOUR FAMILY
She deals with the Male leadership issue pretty directly”
In our family the men have always stood at the head, true patriarchs that take the lead, teach, and live their lives as examples. We were taught, practically from the time we left the womb, that our fathers knew best for all of us.
Yet after sharing how things were in the King families:
In terms of all major family decisions, those have been collaborations between husband and wife in our households for as long as I can tell.
RULE NO. 3: GET A GOOD EDUCATION
Alvina’s take on education is that it is supremely important:
[It’s] not only important to our family; it is a critical part of the fabric of our family. The Kings have always been and will always be steeped in the belief that a vital society is built on the bedrock of good education.
She has serious issues with the public education system in the USA and highlights the role of:
two most important functions of education: developing keen minds and developing strong moral standards.
RULE NO. 4: GUARD YOUR HEART
This chapter is about Romance and sex. Her values are biblical/conservative.
The anything goes, consequence-free mentality that prevails leads to emotionally deficient sexual encounters that often take the participants down a path to multiple sexual partners, divorce, disease, abortion, and dwindling chances for true intimacy.
And a lot more
RULE NO. 5: DEFEND LIFE
She’s actively Pro-life. 100%. The King values:
Daddy King learned from his parents that life is sacred from the moment of conception and that you never willingly snuff it out. His wife, Alberta, shared the same family values and passed this value for the sanctity of life along to their children, imbuing Martin Luther King Jr. and his siblings with beliefs that simply never could have reconciled with a pro-abortion position.
RULE NO. 6: FIGHT FOR JUSTICE
Who better to speak the words of the cost of justice than a niece of Martin Luther King?
The cost of freedom is indeed high.
RULE NO. 7: CARE FOR THE NEEDY
You can’t legislate caring for the poor, but it was a King family legacy, based on scriptural principles.
RULE NO. 8: WORK FOR PEACE
This chapter is primarily a commentary on MLK’s Principles for Peace:
Principle 1: Nonviolence is not passive, but requires courage.
Principle 2: Nonviolence seeks reconciliation, not defeat of an adversary.
Principle 3: Nonviolent action is directed at eliminating evil, not destroying an evildoer.
Principle 4: A willingness to accept suffering for the cause, if necessary, but never to inflict it.
Principle 5: A rejection of hatred, animosity, or violence of the spirit, as well as refusal to commit physical violence.
Principle 6: Faith that justice will prevail.
The King Center developed a sequential process of nonviolent conflict resolution, and Alveda details the six steps that represent their approach to achieving peace:
Step 1: Information gathering and research to get the facts straight.
Step 2: Education of adversaries and the public about the facts of the dispute.
Step 3: Personal commitment to nonviolent attitudes and action.
Step 4: Negotiation with adversaries in a spirit of goodwill to correct injustice.
Step 5: Nonviolent direct action, such as marches, boycotts, mass demonstrations, picketing, sit-ins, and so on, to help persuade or compel adversaries to work toward dispute resolution.
Step 6: Reconciliation of adversaries in a win-win outcome establishes a sense of community.
RULE NO. 9: BUILD THE BELOVED COMMUNITY
This rule addresses the subject of racism, a key issue forthe Kings, obviously. Racism is always based on pride, and is evil in its capacity to retain division through unforgiveness.
RULE NO. 10: FIND YOUR JOY
Alveda gets pretty personal with the faith thing in the last rule:
Overwhelmingly, though, the most joyful experience in my life came in 1983 when I accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior.
She came from a family of preachers and knew about the God thing, but it remained a casual thing throughout her early adulthood until . . .
. . . it was not until 1983 that I realized that I, Alveda, was a sinner in need of the grace of the Lord. Once I was able to see this, and once I confessed it, the deepest joy I have ever felt came into my soul.
Thanks Alveda. Good words. King Rules is certainly a worthy read.
[Disclaimer: The Book Look Bloggers team helped me get my hands on my copy of King Rules. Thank you kindly.]