As a peaceful parent – choosing connection, advocating non-violent, non-coercive, non-punitive, collaborative cooperation, equality, empathy, dialogue and consent in our homes and relationships – it can be hard to come to terms with and explain war.
The violence, the injustice, the unrelenting attacks and senseless loss of lives can leave you feeling grief, helpless, even hopeless that efforts to live and parent peacefully are futile, as well as fearful of further escalation.
Yet, peaceful doesn’t mean permissive or submissive.
It’s not peaceful to tolerate the violation of a person’s or people’s integrity, autonomy or rights.
Peace is not without conflict. For peace, it’s necessary to say no when these things are threatened, call out and take a stand against aggression, injustice and the violation of rights, as well as do what you can to protect, keep yourself and others safe.
I stand for peace. I’m against violence and war. I wish we had peaceful means to end war. I wish dialogue was the solution. I wish human life was valued over power, territory, borders and politics, but when a fascist dictator invades another country intent on taking control at the cost of so many human lives, it simply isn’t. It’s not enough. I don’t have the answer but I know that it’s not staying silent and doing nothing.
Our best hope and chance for preventing future wars and violence, for a peaceful world of tomorrow, is peaceful and respectful parenting. Parenting is political. How we parent and how children experience the world matters.
Children growing up without violence, being seen and heard, treated with dignity, humanity and respect, experiencing that conflicts can be resolved peacefully and constructively with empathy and dialogue is the best protection against the emotional depravity and need for self-affirmation that leads to the abuse of power, aggression and violence in adults, to the actions of dictators and fascists.
We also have the collective responsibility to help safeguard and support children who are caught up in war, experience violence and have to flee their homes, with resources for their physical and emotional wellbeing.
Children who have peaceful childhoods become peaceful adults and the peaceful leaders of tomorrow.