I offer you peace.
I offer you love.
I offer you friendship.
I see your beauty.
I hear your need.
I feel your feelings.
My wisdom flows from the Highest Source.
I salute that Source in you.
Let us work together for unity and love.
– Mohandas K. (“The Mahatma” – Great Soul) Gandhi
Beautiful, isn’t it? It’s a longer version of the meaning of the Hindi salutation “Namaste.”
Why doesn’t it work?
Gandhi himself, perhaps the most peaceful leader in history, was murdered by one of his own, a fellow Hindu. Peace didn’t seem to work for him that way. Why not? Especially when, generally speaking, most Indian people are peaceful compared to the people of most countries.
A concept such as peace must be taught to children, to all children, in order to be effective. Forces that work slavishly to teach fear and violence to children never sleep. In the United States, for example, you would be hard pressed to listen to a newscast or read a daily newspaper that would not incline a child toward fear and/or violence if its contents were taught to that child. Violent news is certainly repetitive.
Concepts we want to impart to our children require repetition, whether peace or violence. The US national anthem is a war song, the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag a commitment to use violence to enforce the safety of the people of the country, if necessary. The US has, since its inception, always found someone to fear, thus a reason to engage in war almost constantly throughout its history.
These two have been daily features in US classrooms longer than anyone can remember. That is, the message that violence is to be considered a primary means to resolve conflicts is taught to children every single day they attend school.
That is but one example. Canada, one of the more peaceful nations in the world has a somewhat similar national anthem, though not a pledge to its flag.
The same teachers who supervise these daily exercises–the US anthem and the pledge–do not place similar emphasis on the concept of peace or peaceful resolution of conflicts. They rarely, if ever, appear in curriculum, though the conflict messages are repeated daily.
Peace, to most of us, means that when the potential for disagreement arises, the parties involved should consider ways of resolving it other than by using violence or psychological coercion.
Until that message is conveyed to children more often than the messages about violence, the message that is taught in a stronger manner will win out in the minds of the kids, who will grow up to have similar beliefs but have access to more weapons.
Indians are taught to adore and to respect the leader who brought independence to their country. They are also taught the concepts of peace and passive resistance.
Canadian children are taught that a Canadian began the concept of international peacekeeping through the United Nations and that Canada is the only country in the Americas that gained its independence from its imperial power by peaceful means.
What children are actively and repetitively taught becomes a way of life for them in adulthood.
Those who love and support violence are tirelessly dedicated to passing their message to younger generations. Those who love peace tend to not have the same devotion to their cause.
If you want change, teach the children.
Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today’s Epidemic Social Problems, a book about how, what and when to teach children the important life lessons they need to become secure, competent and confident adults. It’s a manual for life.
Learn more at http://billallin.com