UNIVERSE WITHIN by Gwen Randall-Young
I have always felt there is a glaring omission in the way we have been educated and the way children are educated, inasmuch as there is no consistent teaching about how to communicate. Yes, we learn to read and write, but not how to talk with one another, particularly when there is conflict.
Built into our culture and socialization process is a tendency towards polarity. Siblings have rivalry and there are disagreements on the school playground. Generally, the response to these occurrences has more to do with who was right and who was wrong, rather than how communication could be improved.
In fact, the way we talk about things structures our reality. If we have not learned the language of co-operation and facilitation, we are stuck battling opposite positions or points of view. There are a few things we need to teach children, and, of course, one of the best ways to teach them is to model the behaviours ourselves.
We need to teach them it is always better to try to find a solution than to fight and argue. We must give them plenty of examples of solutions so they understand how to create their own. If they hear mom and dad doing this in the kitchen, it will be easier for them to do it on the playground.
We need to teach them it is not helpful or nice to speak badly of others. Rather, it is wise to encourage them to see the positives in others. They should know that words have energy and that negative comments put negative energy out into the world. We pollute the interpersonal environment when we do that.
We need to teach them if we work together and help one another, we will all be further ahead. We do not have to be the best, the fastest, the smartest. If we happen to have those qualities, all the more reason to be helpful to others. Years from now, we will be remembered not so much for our accomplishments, but for how we treated others.
We need to teach them the importance of honesty and integrity – even when no one is looking. A conscience that is clear – free of guilt, remorse or regret – not only makes us feel better, but we sleep better too. Dishonest actions or being out of integrity is not something that can be erased. Most people carry the memory of such incidents for the rest of their lives.
We need to teach them the importance of forgiveness. No one is perfect. Everyone deserves a second chance. Holding grudges is like pausing a movie. You cannot move on with the story when you remain stuck on one event.
We need to teach them that love is the greatest gift we have to give. They need to know that their love has the power to uplift, heal and empower others. They also need to be reminded that we each have unlimited amounts of love within us. Opening our hearts and letting the loving energy flow out to others is the best thing for maintaining physical and emotional health.
We need to teach them how important it is to share. They need to know how to take turns, to let everyone play and to give to those less fortunate. The whole world is our family and we need to take care of each other.
Can you imagine if we had an entire generation of children raised knowing these things? Imagine if every adult had been raised with these principles. How different our world would be. If we really want to change our world, it might best to start with the children. The only thing is if we want them to really get it, we have to get it first.
Gwen Randall-Young is an author and psychotherapist in private practice. For articles and information about her books and CDs, visit www.gwen.ca