Non-violence as a Way of Life

Our instinct to mimic (or catch) all types of emotions provides the foundation to be able to resonate with and understand someone else’s feelings.

Big I and Three Cs-lntent, content, circumstances, and possible intended and unintended consequences

If we conclude that our actions could harm aootherperson and we commence to act, we come full circle to our intent to harm. If we conclude that our actions could help relieve the suffering of the other, we have three choices: to not act (allow suffering); to act because we want to maintain our image as a caring person (get caught); or to act to relieve the suffering of others, because we must.

Why Can’t I?

  1. It is unkind.
  2. It is hurtful.
  3. It is unfair.
  4. It is dishonest.

Our Worldview and Why it Matters

The three kinds of families metaphorically symbolize our worldview, They provide a set of assumption about human nature that informs our way of being in the world.

Neither a rigid moral absolutism (Because I said so … ) nor shifting moral relativism (As long as I don’t get caught. .. ) will teach children how to care deeply, share generously, or help willingly. Neither do they provide the groundwork necessary to develop communities that will support, not destroy, that which nurtures children’s innate ability to care.

Hoarding, Harming: Betraying Ourselves and Our Circle of Caring

Hoarding and harming cause hurt, hut they are not necessarily acts of cruelty or evil in and of themselves. The consequences of hoarding and harming can be both mean and crueL Both hoarding and harming can be called into the service of hate to further evil. Hoarding and harming create cracks in our solidarity with one another.

Hoarding is about me, mine, and more-to the detriment of us, ours, and enough.

Becoming more isolated, self-centered, and competitive as they accumulate more gadgets around them, children are losing opportunities to care and share, solve problems collaboratively, and simply play together. When they are greedy, they are never contented, never satisfied, and always afraid there will not be enough.

Harm-the betrayal of trust. When a trust is betrayed, the ties that bind us together are tattered and severed.

Disagreements and conflicts happen within the bonds of relationships. They are normal, natural, and necessary. Lying, cheating, and stealing can rip apart those bonds.

Lying, cheating, and stealing are truth and honesty’s hollow imposters cloaked in any number of disguises: deceptions, half-truths, and the absence of truth.

Reason not to lie, cheat, and steal:

  1. To keep one’s integrity (I).
  2. To maintain and strengthen the bond with another (Thou).
  3. To live in a peaceful and just community (We).

 

The more children anchor their actions in deep caring for themselves and others, the less likely they will be to succumb to the lure of these three thieves that rob them of their own integrity and their relationship with others.

Holding children accountable for what they do that causes harm, what they fail to do to care, and for what they tum a blind eye to says we care deeply about them. It also says that we believe they are capable of acting with integrity, civility and compassion. That will require resolve on our part and discipline on theirs.

Lies

Lies are the absence of truth and they wear many guises: spoken, bald fuced lies; acts of commission; acts of omission; and deception. (Different from the “suspension of reality” in fantasy and fiction.)

Children lie to cover up what they have done or what was done to them; to avoid doing something; to deny responsibility for mischief; or to cover up another deception.

Far more than teaching children merely not to lie, we need to teach them to be kind with their words, truthful, and trustworthy.

Hating: Evil in Action

Hate is not the opposite of deep caring; it is the absence of deep caring. It can appear in different forms-as contempt,

bigotry, degradation, exclusion, revenge, or bullying.

Nonviolence As A Way Of Life

Our children must see us as more than non-bigoted, non-racist, or non-sexist. We must show them that we are anti-bigoted, anti-racist, anti-sexist, actively involved in our community working against such intolerance and hatred and standing up for social justice.

What’s Forgiveness Got to Do with It?

Forgiveness is not a verb, nor is it an act of the will. It is the voice of the heart that speaks in the presence of the soul. It is holding onto one’s “caring self.” It is heartbusiness’- the choice to not be bound up in revenge aod hatred-the mind will be busy enough working out ways to demonstrate the forgiveness through feelings, deeds, actions, possibly releasing the debt, and making real other tangible expressions of that forgiveness.

The act of forgiveness is an act of radical self-interest–to be open to life again, to learn to trust again, and to treat all whom they meet with integrity, civility, and compassion.

Excerpts from Just Because It’s Not Wrong Doesn’t Make It Right, Barbara Coloroso

© 2006 www.kidsareworthit.com kids are worth it, inc. PO Box 621108, Littleton, Colorado 80127, USA 800.729.1588 • fax 303.972.1204

Download & Print

About the Author