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Sunday, February 8, 2009

Parenting for Peace

"A man is but the product of his thoughts; what he thinks, he becomes."
-Mahatma Gandhi

This morning my daughter and i were sitting in the lobby of the hotel we were staying at in Denver My wife was still sleeping and we decided to relax in the lobby and let her sleep. I had brought a book (as always) for just a moment when i could get a little further in my reading, but my daughter hadn't brought one on this short trip. I had brought a new book i checked out of the library called PEACE: The Words and Inspirations of Mahatma Gandhi with me as well as the novel I was reading, and handed it over to her.

I ran through the elements ofthe book quickly to map out its territory for her in a shorthand fashion . . .

"This is an introduction by Archbishop Desmond Tutu regarding a central tenent of his culture and tradition called "ubuntu" which is a "me/we" kind of expression, in short, "if i diminish you, i diminish myself" . . . "

"This is several pages about the life of Gandhi . . . "

"And this is a section of quotes by him, most are short and to the point, some are longer . . . so there, you can dip into whatever part you want."

I showed her an example of one page with large lettered words . . .


I asked her if she had ever heard of that saying before, the eye for an eye one. She said she hadn't. I felt it was important for her to hear it and understand what it meant, and that it was a non-peaceful way of thinking. That it was a vengeful or retaliatory way of thinking . . . an example i used was the old, " . . . but, he hit me first" exuse.

She got the pisture.

I then ran across the saying quoted above, "A man is but the product of his thoughts; what he thinks, he becomes." and realized, that my daughter had never heard the saying about an eye for an eye and so it was not part of her cognitive map . . . but neither was this saying by Gandhi which is a response and remedy to the other saying.

I was made aware once more of the importance of teaching our children our wisdoms, of giving them the sayings and tools to think about this world. Education gives people options, different ways to think about things, opens up possibilities.

In this case, it opens up the possibilities of reflecting back on this saying of Ghandi when issues arise in ones life.

It opens up the possibilities for peace.

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