April Post For Peace

English: Children dancing, International Peace...

English: Children dancing, International Peace Day 2009, Geneva. Français : Enfants dansant, Journée internationale de la Paix 2009, Genève. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

How do we teach children what peace means, and how do we raise our children to be peaceful?

The answer is amazingly simple.  We teach by example.  Simple answers don’t make the actual process easy of course.  We have all seen or been the parent who yells and rants, flips out and stomps off, slams a door, gets mad, gets even.  Kids mimic what they see, they repeat what they hear, and they either learn from our mistakes or they repeat them.  The best and maybe the only way we can teach our children what peace means is by living it.

My parents were both peaceful and peace-loving.  Mom always saw the best in every person she met and every situation she faced – she could put a positive spin on even the worst disaster, and point out some redeeming quality in a complete ass.  Dad forever saw the funny side of life.  It’s like I spent my childhood with a Mark Twain clone – he would tell us a funny story or make a witty remark or a silly comment that didn’t just make us laugh, it made us think.  My parents never had raging battles, and rarely even argued for long before coming to a mutually acceptable decision, even if the decision was simply to agree to disagree.

How incredibly lucky we were to be their children, sheltered from the violence and cruelty of the world for so long.  Of course the down side to that is not knowing how to react to, and cope with, furious anger and deliberate malice when confronted with it head on.  We were taught not to fight back and that peaceful resolutions were always to be sought, and almost always possible to reach.  We were shown that siblings can be our very best friends, that mistakes can be forgiven, that happiness is something you have to find within yourself because no one is going to present it to you on a golden platter.  I grew up knowing that anger you can’t let go of will just make everyone miserable.  No matter how uneasy the peace, it is always better to seek it than to let a conflict fester and grow.

So how have I done as a mother myself, after having been blessed with such shining examples to follow?  I wish I could tell you I’ve been the perfect wise and peaceful parent, but if you’re a parent yourself you know first hand there’s really no such thing.  Parenthood is something we muddle through hoping to keep the damage to a minimum.  We want peace and happiness and joy for our children and we will wish hard for it for the rest of our lives.

Before I became the incredibly smart old person that I am now, a newborn baby always looked to me like some blank little human that could be shaped and molded into whatever sort of person its family was capable of creating.  Not so great parents ended up with little brats.  How completely deluded that notion turned out to be.

Newborn child, seconds after birth. The umbili...

Newborn child, seconds after birth. The umbilical cord has not yet been cut. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Because a child is born with personality plus.  All we can hope to accomplish as his parent and guardian is to get to know him, keep him safe and watch him grow.  We can guide and console and love him but we can’t make him turn himself into something he is not, and perhaps was never meant to be.

The very hardest part about being a parent is knowing how much growing up we have left to do ourselves.  I sometimes think our children teach us just as much about life as we are trying to teach them.  Maybe more.  We give our children rules to live by, examples to follow, consequences for their actions.  It’s only fair that there should be some parenting rules, and for whatever they’re worth, here are mine.

1.  Keep talking to your child. Tell him what you think, what you believe, what you want, how you feel.  Some of it is bound to sink in eventually.

2.  Shut up and listen.  Let him freely express what he thinks, what he believes, what he wants, how he feels.  You will learn more things from listening to your child than you ever believed possible.  Have some serious discussions.  Share some laughs. Keep an open mind.

3.  Be loving and kind and compassionate.  Growing up is not easy.  You haven’t finished the process either, so be patient with your child, and be patient with yourself.

4.  Be grateful for what you have and less concerned with what you lack.  Know that ‘things’ themselves are not what make us happy.  Be generous whenever you can. It really is true that the more you give the more you receive, no matter what the ‘gift’.

5.  Support your childs creative nature and expanding spirit.  Share his happiness, share his joy.  Teach him that sharing the joy of others brings joy right back to him.  Be constantly delighted and astounded by the incredible person he is turning out to be.  His dreams are different from yours and his path is not the same as the one you are on.  How boring and disappointing it would be if we all raised little mini-me’s.

6.  Be okay with life.  Work with change, rather than against it.  Accept what is, let go, and let be.

When we are okay with life, there is no reason to fight.  When we are calm and confident and have a sort of mental equilibrium somewhere between what is ‘wrong’ and what is ‘right’, the tension and the struggle to go one way or the other disappears. I think that is called peace.  I think that is the only way we can teach it to our children, by showing them that we get it, that we want it, and that we live it ourselves the best way we know how.

Although you see the world different from me
Sometimes I can touch upon the wonders that you see
And all the new colors and pictures you’ve designed
Oh yes sweet darling so glad you are a child of mine

Child of mine, child of mine
Oh yes sweet darling so glad you are a child of mine

You don’t need directions, you know which way to go
And I don’t want to hold you back I just want to watch you grow
You’re the one who taught me, you don’t have to look behind
Oh yes sweet darling, so glad you are a child of mine

Nobody’s gonna kill your dreams or tell you how to live your life
There’ll always be people who make it hard for a while
But you’ll change their heads when they see you smile

The times you were born in may not have been the best
But you can make the times to come better than the rest
I know you will be honest if you can’t always be kind
Oh yes sweet darling, so glad you are a child of mine

Child of mine, child of mine
Oh yes sweet darling so glad you are a child of mine

Child of mine, child of mine
Oh yes sweet darling so glad you are a child of mine

bloggers for peace

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13 thoughts on “April Post For Peace

  1. Thank you for a beautiful post and a beautiful song. Anne Murray is my all time favorite female vocalist. I remembered seeing her with her children on a Christmas special once and it was so nice to see them all again.

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  2. Pingback: On Children: April 2013 Monthly Peace | theseeker

  3. Pingback: Thursday Tidbits: A Lasting Innocence | KM Huber's Blog

  4. Grandmalin, You really need to collect all this amazing wisdom and publish a book. You can call it the “Incredibly Smart Old Person’s Book of Advice.” I love this post. I love your advice. I love your parents and how they raised you. I can’t agree with you more about this: “The very hardest part about being a parent is knowing how much growing up we have left to do ourselves.”
    Thank you for everything you give to us. {{{hugs}}} your self-adopted grandson, Kozo

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  5. Lin, this post is/was a winner in the April giveaway — please let me know a mailing address. tegbook @ hotmail.com — Eric

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  6. Pingback: On Children: April 2013 Monthly Peace | The Seeker

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