Over the past few days I have found myself having conversations with my children about peace and violence. But just sitting down with a child and explaining the importance of peace is not enough. It’s already a complicated concept to explain, made more difficult by recent happenings of violence and conflict. It is all over TV and social media, yet I'd like to think that the next generation will find a path to a more peaceful future hoping that, as adults, they will be able to change the world step by step.
I wish to share this list I found on the internet about cultivating values to promote the notion of peace in children. Although it seems like a long list, each point is important and we all know the best way to teach our kids is to show them how to do it:
Make sure you set a great example by forgiving them for their own missteps. Teach them the importance of not holding grudges.
Discuss tales of compassion from real life experiences, and demonstrate acts of compassion, for animals and fellow humans.
Help them see the importance of helping those who are at a disadvantage.
Show them that even when they go through a rough patch, tomorrow will be better.
Promote kindness at every opportunity. Explain that acts of kindness feel just as good for the giver as for the recipient.
When they get into trouble, show them understanding. Teach them to understand and have patience with you as well. You all make mistakes, and you love them and they love you, regardless.
Encourage them to nurture friendships with other children from different races, religions, and backgrounds.
Teach them how to work together to reach a common goal. Help them understand that people working together can often create better results than individuals working alone.
As a parent you already love them unconditionally. But make sure they know they are loved and accepted, no matter what—whether they are gay, straight or want to be a rock star for a living someday.
Be open enough with them so they can come to you, trusting they can confide in you completely without getting in trouble. This way, they will grow up believing in people and themselves. Be as honest with them as possible and they will emulate that.
Teach them the importance of sharing the same space, the same room, the same toys, as well as the same planet.
At every chance, show them how respecting others will bring them respect too. Always respect your children in order to set a good example.
Children have to learn early on that every action has a consequence. They must learn to be responsible for their actions and foresee what negative results might develop should they shirk their obligations.
Teach them to try and understand other people’s point of view. Ask them how they’d feel if they were in such circumstances.
Just because they are angry doesn’t mean they should act on it. Talk it out, understand the problem and help them understand that they shouldn’t act on impulse or anger. Violence is not the answer.
Make it a habit to show your children how lucky they are. Teach them to be grateful for their possessions, circumstances, and loved ones.