“Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance,” said Robert Kennedy, in South Africa in 1966 at the University of Cape Town.
This quote came to mind today as I was reflecting on the tragic, violent events on August 12 in Virginia. I was thinking how after, and even during, the grief, the mourning, and the anger, there will be acts by people, young and old, that will inspire hope. “There is a saying in Tibetan, ‘Tragedy should be utilized as a source of strength.’ No matter what sort of difficulties, how painful experience is, if we lose our hope, that’s our real disaster.” ― Dalai Lama XIV
Charlottesville, Virginia, is a result of learned hatred, as Obama said in his recent Tweet
Children are not born hateful and intolerant, Obama reminded us. They learn it. And we must have hope that there is positive energy enough in our country to “build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.” Toward that end, my hope has always been with the children. They are naturally forgiving, inclusive, and tolerant. Often, children have ideas and insights about how to improve painful situations that are surprising and inspiring.
Where is our hope for the future?
Sadly, the violence in Charlottesville probably won’t be the last we see, but we still must find space in our hearts for hope. Traumatic events are likely to interrupt peace on a regular basis for years to come. Bully behavior and domestic violence also are stubbornly hard to eradicate. But, when we are ready, we can have hope that we can contribute a ripple that will build a current! To allow hope in around the edges of our psyche, and help us stay focused on finding the peace that is still all around us, is a step toward healing.
Many acts of kindness, cooperation, and community-building, and all those things we call positive social behaviors, nurture a culture of peace. By focusing on them, perhaps we can have more of them! At Smart Tools for Life our goal is to move past today’s divisiveness by working for dialogue when we disagree, and demonstrating that we as a species have the capacity to care for all our diverse people.
We Collect Children’s Stories!
Because we all can benefit from the insights of children, we invite the children in your life to share their stories. Stories can be about how they cared for or kindly treated someone that wasn’t just like them. Then, we all will celebrate our children’s efforts and be inspired and stimulated to take up the mantle. Please send art as well.
Children in different locations and with different points-of-view may need more time to process and may be more or less directly impacted by Charlottesville. But while children are trying to understand why something like this happens, the dialogue you create with them about caring for others is a wonderful way to nurture their need to contribute and to love. Yes, children need our love and support. They also need to be presented with ways to give back — ways they can show love and demonstrate hope. It is healing.
Together we can enhance childrens’ peace literacy and support a culture of peace!