Peace Education: A necessity in Schools, Families and Communities

Sometimes, I wonder about the value of programs teaching for peaceful living in violent and conflict situations and ask myself whether programs such as Learning to Live Together and others become more of a luxury or a privilege in these situations. This question is not only true in violent situations but also applies in cases where children live in extreme poverty and unhealthy family conditions. Other times, I wonder about the positive roles faith, spirituality, and ethics may play as important vehicles and entry points to teaching non-violent ways of living and resolution of conflicts. It is my vision as an educator to confidently claim that we are able to bring up a new generation of world citizens who are more capable than the older generations to be generous, tolerant, empathetic, and able to forgive. This requires a set of skills and strategies that are not totally innate but are also learned in the family, schools, and community.

"I had a professor once who used to say there are two things you should read every day: the Bible and the New York Times. His thinking was, if you want to understand human beings, what makes us tick, what our strengths, weaknesses, values, yearnings, wishes, sense of reality is all about, there's nothing more human than those two texts. Personally, I expand that to include the wisdom literature of all different traditions – and the New York Times. And I consider myself so very fortunate that as a teacher of the world religions, I get to spend my days doing just that – reading and discussing the wisdom literature of different human cultures – with young minds who make really interesting comments and questions.

I strongly believe that children have an innate potential for spiritually. We need to listen carefully to children s…

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