This morning, the day of the Christian Holy Feast of the Innocents, I was meditating on this piece about the humility of children from a Roman Catholic source. It pointed out how children are the builders for justice, peace, and truth. Children have a way of getting to the heart of things.
I really want my children to be bearers for this generation of these values and ideals. I want them to not only be able to take care of themselves, but also to be able to take care of those around them who are suffering, who are poor, who are needy, and to be able to have a moral compass that will help them stand up for social justice and truth in a context greater than themselves.
In doing this, I have been thinking about:
Modeling Compassion and a Moral Compass- Children are watching, and I better walk what my talk is saying. It is sort of like saying, “You cannot watch TV (but I will watch 15 hours a day on my computer or phone”). We cannot say we want our children to demonstrate a value for justice and peace if we do nothing to show compassion in our own family and in our community, and if we live a life completely separate and without regard for what we espouse.
Respect – If we cannot respect our children when they speak up, how on earth do we expect them to be able to speak up on important issues or when they have the differing opinion from a room full of people?
Humilty – It is not up to us to save the world by ourselves. But it is up to us to do our part and to shine our light where we can. We need others to show us, help us, heal us, and strive together. Change can be slow, slower than we often would like. We must be humble and acknowledge that it takes long, hard work to make effective change whether in ourselves or on a societal level and it takes more than just ourselves. There are many stars shining in the darkness. Respecting the boundaries between what I can do myself and what I can’t without sacrificing my own family or my own health is part of that humility.
Community – Living in a community of people dedicated to justice and peace will not only push us as adults toward greater education, knowledge, and activism, it will help us model for our children and control our own egotism. It helps us share comfort, forgiveness, and reconciliation as we work together.
Diversity – I have a quote up on my personal Facebook page that “love illuminates.” Demonstrating love for all and putting those ideals into action is even more important than the words. Think of others, think of others as individuals, and think about things, even large issues, from that point of view.
Still pondering on this winter day.