Mandela and Newtown: A passion for peace
Learning from Newtown: Whether or not we believe in the right to bear arms, we must believe that our children should never again become targets. Can we learn from Mandela's principles of peace?
It is auspicious that our world has lost one of its most peaceful warriors at the marking of the one-year anniversary of one of its most violent acts. As we mourn the loss of one who brought peace and justice to the millions of oppressed in his country and set a standard for the world, we mourn the loss of 20 small school children and six of their caregivers needlessly gunned down at their school.Skip to next paragraph
Bonnie Harris, a parenting specialist for 25 years, is the director of Connective Parenting and is known for her pioneering mindset shift out of the reward-and-punishment model to a connected relationship. She conducts workshops and speaks on parenting topics and is the author of "When Your Kids Push Your Buttons" and "Confident Parents, Remarkable Kids: 8 Principles for Raising Kids You'll Love to Live with. She is the mother of two grown children and lives with her husband in New Hampshire. Click here to learn more about her.
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Are we setting more standards in the US or are we waking up?
Since the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary, schools across the country hold practice lock-down sessions. The idea is that schools are better prepared to defend themselves against more shooting rampages. At the same time we are instilling fear into millions of children who should never have to question their safety at school. Many children prone to anxiety and concern may now spend their days listening for gunshots, anticipating strangers coming into their classrooms and fearing that no matter what desk they duck under or closet they are ushered into, they will not be safe. Is this how we must raise our children? Are we creating a safer environment or merely expecting the worst? More must be done.
What would Mandela do?
A prince of peace we have not seen the likes of since Ghandi and Martin Luther King and may not again for many years to come, Nelson Mandela began as a non-violent protester and later led a sabotage campaign to overthrow the apartheid government in South Africa. In 1962 he was arrested for conspiracy, deemed a traitor and a terrorist, and was sentenced to life imprisonment. For most, imprisonment hardens. For Mandela, it softened. He was allowed to send and receive one letter only every six months during his 27 years behind bars. Yet never for a moment did his life sentence suppress his convictions and determination. His prison cell became his sanctuary to deepen his dedication to the cause of peace and justice for black and white both.
Mandela’s extreme acts of courage to fight for equal rights, to raise the South African blacks out of apartheid to humanity, to become a pillar of strength and peace across the world, leave us with a high ideal – a mark of greatness not many can achieve. How many of us would remain committed to our convictions when faced with death?