I met a couple who were determined that they were
going to train their four children in the way of
peace. Every night at dinner they gave a regular
sermon on peace. But one evening I heard the father
scream at the older son. The next evening I heard the
older son scream at the younger son in the same tone
of voice. What the parents said hadn't made any
impression at all -- what they did was what the
children were following.
Implanting spiritual ideas in children is very
important. Many people live their entire lives
according to the concepts that are implanted in them
in childhood. When children learn they will get the
most attention and love through doing constructive
things, they will tend to stop doing destructive
things. Most important of all, remember that children
learn through example. No matter what you say, it is
what you do that will have an influence on them.
This is a very challenging area for parents. Are you
training your children in the way of love which is the
way of the future?
It concerns me when I see a small child watching the
hero shoot the villain on television. It is teaching
the small child to believe that shooting people is
heroic. The hero just did it and it was effective. It
was acceptable and the hero was well thought of
If enough of us find inner peace to affect the
institution of television, the little child will see
the hero transform the villain and bring him to a good
life. He or she will see the hero do something significant to
serve fellow human beings. So little children will get
the idea that if you want to be a hero you must help
A minister I know spent some time in Russia. He saw no
Russian children playing with guns. He visited the
large toy stores in Moscow, and discovered that there
were no toy guns or other toy implements of
destruction for sale.
Peaceful training is given in a few small cultures
right within our larger culture. I knew a couple who
lived for ten or twelve years among the Hopi Indians.
They said to me, "Peace, this is amazing--they
never hurt anyone."
I have walked among the Amish people myself. They have
sizable communities. Peaceful, secure communities with
no violence. I talked to them and I realized it's
because they learn, as little children onward, that it
would be unthinkable to harm a human being. Therefore
they never do it. This can be accomplished if you are
brought up that way.
When my folks put me to bed they would say to me very
wisely, "It gets dark so that it will be restful
for you to sleep. Now go to sleep in the nice
friendly, restful darkness." And so to me
darkness has always seemed to be friendly and restful.
And when I'm either walking all night to keep warm or
sleeping beside the road, there I am, in the nice,
friendly restful darkness.
Children need roots somewhere while they are growing
up, and parents might do well to choose the place
where they want to raise them before they have them.