In continuing my ArtstsforPeace list of what would I teach a child about peace — I follow yesterday’s notion that YOU HAVE A PURPOSE — EMBRACE IT — with:
(2) There are ALWAYS two choices: love or fear. If you want peace then CHOOSE LOVE.
Love leads to peace. So how do you know you’ve chosen love rather than fear? Its easy — you will be at peace with the decision. There may seem to be chaos for a time around your decision. But you will be at peace. So what good is fear? Fear shows us the boundaries we should establish so that we can love freely without being hurt or surrendering our right to a peaceful existence.
Very young children don’t need to be taught this. They know who they want to hug or play with. We as adults sometimes teach them otherwise. If a child’s instinct said love this coyote from a distance — would we as adults insist the child hug the coyote? Hopefully not. If a child’s instinct said to love one of our friends or relatives from a distance — would we as adults insist the child hug that adult ? It happens.
Imagine a family gathering and a great-aunt or uncle opens their arms for a three-year old to run over and give them a big hug. The child backs up into the parent’s legs. What does the parent do? Decide the child needs to show the relative love and literally nudge them toward the relative to give the unwanted hug?
The nudging parent acted out of fear. The child acted out of self-love and chose peace. Pushing the child away and toward what or whom they feared vetoed the child’s instinct. Why the nudge? The parent wasn’t AT peace with the situation but rather trying to KEEP the peace. A few moments of chaos might ensue because of the child’s decision but the child would have been at peace. It may never come to light why the child backed away. Maybe the relative is intrinsically not a nice person or maybe the relative had a spider dangling over their head. Either way is the child being taught to associate love with fear rather than love with peace? I think so.
If we push a child toward what they fear enough times we shouldn’t be surprised when we sit down to teach them about peace if they put in the ear buds and crank the volume on their music. We teach what we know. So if we want to teach our children peace — first we have to know it ourselves.
So in writing all of this I would add to what I would tell a child:
TRUST YOURSELF to know the difference between love and fear. Don’t fear fear. If it pops up — use FEAR as a guide toward PeACE and the knowledge of what boundaries need to be erected to be at peace and then let the fear go.
What would you teach a child about peace?