As parents, we have an amazing privilege and responsibility to the world and our children. The things we model and teach our children will take many years, and last them through their lifetime. Even after they are gone, the legacy they leave will live on in people whose lives they have affected.
Raising our children to be peacemakers should be one of our top priorities. If our children are knowledgeable, wealthy and popular, but have poor character, those attributes will benefit neither them nor anyone around them. The world is a testament to this fact. So how do we raise our children to become the kind of people who will leave the lasting impression of a peacemaker on those they come in contact with? We, as parents, have the most influence and responsibility when it comes to teaching our children peacemaking skills.
Model Peacemaking through our Responses
We can teach our children to be anything we want to, but unless we are striving to live it out daily in our own lives, our pursuits are useless. We need to model peacemaking in big and small ways. Every day we walk on the earth, we have a chance to model either peace or discord.
When someone has upset you, how do you respond to them? What is your reaction when another driver cuts you off on the way to your child’s baseball game? Think about your initial reactions to stress and you will quickly know what your children are learning about peacemaking from you. Strive to respond with compassion rather than to react with a harsh demeanor to those around you.
Model Peacemaking through Our Words
How are we speaking about other people in our homes? Are our conversations about others mainly negative or positive? If we want our child to become a peacemaker, we have to think and speak like one. Save your negativity for a time when it can be discussed with the appropriate person who can actually remedy the problem.
Model Peacemaking through Our Actions
What are you personally doing to make a difference in the world? Are you willing to get your hands dirty to fight injustice and help bring peace to every person in all parts of the world? Your personal concern for those who are not experiencing peace at this moment in time will be an example and inspiration to the future adults you are raising. In turn, they will likely strive to find the same opportunities to be involved in.
Model Peacemaking through Other Role Models
Who are the people you expose your children to? Are they complacent and angry, or do they have a desire for peace like you do? Expose your children to other inspiring adults who they can learn from. This will reinforce the training they are receiving at home and give them a vision for the great things that can be accomplished through the life of someone who cares.
Another positive way to expose your child to great peacemakers is through education. You don’t have to personally know an individual to learn from them. Read autobiographies of those who you admire and make them available to your children. Chances are that they will be as inspired as you.
Our world is desperately in need of individuals committed to peace. Being a parent puts us in the position to be able to raise some of these future leaders. Make the necessary changes in your life today that will help you assist your child in becoming a peacemaker of tomorrow.