On this International Day of Peace, teach your child the merits of the virtue through the inspirational words of these great leaders.
By Ashwin Lobo
September 21st is celebrated worldwide as the International Day of Peace. Sanctioned by the United Nations, this day was first celebrated in 1982. The objective was to encourage humanity to commit to peace over all differences. While it has been more than 70 years since the end of World War II, a number of regional conflicts still make world peace a distant dream.
Nevertheless, peace is something each individual must work towards. Even small gestures we do for the people around us can make a difference. We can practise meditation to be more grounded, stand up against acts of violence, refuse to be hostile to people and cultivate empathy towards our friends and family. Teach your children to do these little things from a young age to make them more peaceful and serene. Cultivating peace will not only help them make the world a better place, it will also make them happier as individuals.
Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek but a means by which we arrive at that goal. - Martin Luther King Jr.
Martin Luther King Jr. was a civil rights activist who played a key role in fighting the racism against African Americans in the United States. Inspired by Gandhi, King emphasised to his followers the need to fight for their rights using a peaceful approach. This quote highlights that approach, with King suggesting that the only way to attain peace is through peaceful means. As a parent, it is important to remind your child of this approach. Tell your little one that peace cannot be achieved through violence or anger. The only way that peace can be attained is through peace itself.
Peace is not a relationship of nations. It is a condition of mind brought about by a serenity of soul. Peace is not merely the absence of war. It is also a state of mind. Lasting peace can come only to peaceful people. - Jawaharlal Nehru
Jawaharlal Nehru played a key role in the freedom struggle and became the first Prime Minister of India in 1947. A master tactician and diplomat, Nehru understood that in order for peace to prevail between nations it first had to prevail within the hearts of people. This quote is evidence that Nehru believes that peace can only come to people who actively work for it. However, developing a peaceful state of mind is easier said than done. Encourage your child to practise meditation in order to develop a peaceful outlook.
A peaceful man does more good than a learned one. - Pope John XXIII
Affectionately known as the “Good Pope”, Pope John XXIII served as head of the Catholic Church from 28 October 1958 until his death in 1963. From this quote, it is obvious that Pope John believes that peace is a greater virtue than knowledge. Every parent wants their child to grow up to be a good human being. This quote offers an insight that in order to be so, it is more important to cultivate peace than to pursue knowledge.
Each one has to find his peace from within. And peace to be real must be unaffected by outside circumstances. - Mahatma Gandhi
Mahatma Gandhi: The father of our nation and one of the most peace-loving men to have ever lived. Mahatma Gandhi was an exemplar of peace and non-violence as he led India’s freedom struggle against the British. This quote emphasises that peace lies within and cannot be sought outside. This quote is particularly relevant to the materialistic age we live in today. As a parent, remind your child that she cannot attain peace by simply purchasing material goods. Rather, she must learn to be introspective and self-reflective to search for peace within.
If you want peace, you don’t talk to your friends. You talk to your enemies. - Desmond Tutu Desmond
Tutu is a religious leader and activist who worked against apartheid and fought for human rights in South Africa. A major leader of the anti-apartheid movement, Desmond Tutu stressed non-violent protest throughout. Tutu realised that in times of conflict, it was best to speak wholeheartedly with one’s enemies in order to understand their perspective. This can serve as a valuable lesson for your child. Whenever he gets into a fight or disagreement with one of his friends, encourage him to peacefully speak about it with the other person so that they can work together towards finding a solution and resolving their dispute.
“If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.” -Mother Teresa
Mother Teresa was an Albanian nun who came to India in 1929 and worked tirelessly for the upliftment of the poor. She won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 for her humanitarian work. Through this quote, Mother Teresa highlights her spirit of giving by suggesting that peace can be achieved only through remembering that we belong to each other. As a parent, you can teach your child the value of generosity and show her how giving to others will help her gain peace for herself. Tell her to give not just of her belongings, but also of her time, her care and her understanding, especially to the lesser fortunate.
“Peace does not mean an absence of conflicts; differences will always be there. Peace means solving these differences through peaceful means; through dialogue, education, knowledge; and through humane ways.” -Dalai Lama XIV
The Dalai Lama is a spiritual and political leader of the Tibetan people. He resides in India’s northern state of Himachal Pradesh, fearing prosecution from the Chinese state. The Dalai Lama is no stranger to conflict and one of his major goals to free Tibet from the dominance of China. From this quote the Dalai Lama highlights that peace cannot be maintained by simply avoiding conflicts but rather by resolving them through peaceful means. His suggestion to humanely resolve conflict through dialogue, education and knowledge can serve as a valuable lesson to every child.
“Peace cannot be kept by force; it can only be achieved by understanding.” - Albert Einstein Albert
Einstein was a theoretical physicist who is widely considered as being one of the most accomplished scientists of all time. In 1932 Einstein had to flee Germany, fearing for his life, since he was a Jew. And while this esteemed scientist will certainly show up in your child’s text books, his words on peace can also be of great benefit. This quote in particular will show your child that the only means to reaching peace with others is by trying to understand them first. Encourage your child to cultivate empathy so that he can learn how to achieve peace by understanding and not by force.
“We seek peace, knowing that peace is the climate of freedom.” - Dwight D. Eisenhower, 34th President of the United States
Dwight D. Eisenhower was the 34th President of the United States. Eisenhower was no stranger to war, having led the allied forces in Western Europe during World War II. Nevertheless, being the President of the United States during the Cold War era, Eisenhower was a strong critic of the arms race. Eisenhower’s quote highlights the reason for seeking peace, that being the desire for freedom. This will teach your child that it is only in a peaceful world that everybody is truly free. For without peace people are locked in the chains of doubt, suspicion and fear.
“If the human race wishes to have a prolonged and indefinite period of material prosperity, they have only got to behave in a peaceful and helpful way toward one another.” - Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom during World War II. Churchill’s words will teach your child that it is only through cooperation and collaboration that they will achieve prosperity. His words serve as a valuable lesson, especially in this age of cut-throat competition and unchecked ambition.
The inspirational words of these great leaders will be sure to make a lasting impression on your child. Through reading these words and imbibing the lessons they offer your little one will realise the value of peace. This will encourage him to look beyond differences, approach conflicts in a healthy manner and strive to make the world a better place.
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