Bloggers4Peace: Children

Kozo set the Bloggers4Peace challenge for April to focus on children.I will be honest my dears: I have struggled to write this post this month – because I can’t solve the problem. This is my fourth attempt and I have decided that time is running out so here it is. You see…

I know what I want to say about respect and dignity and broad horizons and love and hope.

I know I want to talk about children observing that the actions of adults are reflected in the words they speak; that my children see me walking the walk, or not; that those of us who claim to be for peace genuinely have to live our testimony to peace and justice and environmental awareness.

I know I want to quote helpful and inspiring people like the Dalai Lama on building world peace by teaching all children to meditate. (I think that’s right – if not, it should be.)

Oh my dears – I so want to say those things. But the hollow truth is that I don’t live up to those ideals, and all I can do is share my struggle. I have no answers to the difficult questions children ask about bullying and hitting and fighting and war. I can only say I don’t agree, and sometimes I can say why, but often I cannot even do that.

While the Offspringses were growing up we focused on peaceful actions and words, and attended Quaker meeting. We read about the awesome Ferdinand the Bull and avoided stories where violence was presented as a solution. We tried to live peace and sseriously explain war when they saw it on the news.

But school and TV and friends intervened. There’s a moment when your child leaves you to go to nursery or school and then returns a different person. Suddenly all the games are good guys vs bad guys and shooting and shouting; parental intervention is boring old news. I was glad of a classical education so that I could compare myself to Sisyphus. There were days it felt that bad.

Of course I don’t have to worry now. They have grown up and left home. Oh, who am I kidding? Of course I still worry; it’s in the job description!

My children do not appear to be psychopaths, so that is a good sign. They are articulate and rational, so that is a good sign. As parents we cling to such signs of hope.

I believe they have to discover their own truths, not just repeat mine, but I have made clear they can pursue any career with my blessing except a military one. It’s my line in the squelchy, North Yorkshire ground. So even my love appears conditional, although I have tried to explain I would still love them if they signed up, yet simultaneously be very, very disappointed. I’d have the kind of disappointed face you see on a small child who discovers Santa is not real and the puppy he thought he was getting for Christmas is actually a pair of socks knitted by Aunty Gertrude, who appears to think he is bilaterally asymmetric. Imagine that face. It would be mine if one of the Offspringses announced their new career in the machine of death. Honestly, they could even be an estate agent, I could cope with that.

So who am I to teach children peace? All I can do is admit it’s hard.

I’m just not sure where that gets us. Read these other posts for more constructive ideas!

Namaste.

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16 thoughts on “Bloggers4Peace: Children

  1. You did a fine job describing the struggles parents have to keep peace and teach peace. It is so very hard when the little buggers are pushing your limits of patience. Overall it is those little moments of family time and togetherness that communicates the meaning of peace. All we can do as parents is keep the lines of communication open. Thank you for sharing my post!

  2. i agree with Ellyn that you did well expressing your thoughts on teaching children peace. your last sentence wraps the whole raising children up to be as they should…”it’s hard.”
    i also believe we all have a hand in raising children whether we are parents or not…maybe if we can constantly think every living thing is interconnected and whatever actions we make affects every living thing, our choices perhaps would differ from the original moment. well done. ♥

  3. This month’s really got a few of us thinking hard, didn’t it? Kozo did a good job making the peace challenge a challenge 🙂

  4. Your struggles show how much you take this endeavor seriously, EBL. I love Ferdinand the Bull, thanks for reminding me to read that to my sons. Thank you for your honesty and hope. {{{hugs]}} kozo

  5. Pingback: B4Peace: KenJos Loves the Kids « Be Beautiful and Dance.

  6. Pingback: Teaching Peace to Children | Steve's Thinking Space

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