Bayview Post - - Kids -

some ways? Would it be good for us or just them? What about be­ing an ally to peo­ple we know who are bul­lied or ex­cluded? Would that be good for us or just them? Be­cause this work starts at the mi­cro level with tol­er­ance and em­pa­thy and in­clu­sion of those who are other. You’ll no­tice this con­ver­sa­tion in­cludes the grown-ups ask­ing ques­tions and lis­ten­ing to the kids — which in my ex­pe­ri­ence is the best way to foster kids’ buy-in.

Af­ter the tragic mur­der of the men at prayers in the Que­bec City mosque, I was in­spired by the lead­er­ship and good deeds of Holy Blos­som Tem­ple. They, in turn in­spired by a hu­man chain cre­ated around a syn­a­gogue in Oslo af­ter an at­tack, cre­ated a sym­bolic ring of pro­tec­tion. Holy Blos­som con­gre­gants formed a Ring of Peace out­side a Toronto mosque dur­ing Fri­day prayers, to say: “We stand with and for you.”

Seven Rings of Peace were cre­ated around seven mosques in the GTA, and Rings of Peace are grow­ing else­where — to stand against vi­o­lence and ha­tred. Some might think to pro­tect chil­dren from such a demon­stra­tion of pro­tec­tion. Some might want to shield chil­dren from knowl­edge of at­tacks. But that cat is out of the bag. Kids know about these sad events. And con­trary to our fear of get­ting them in­volved — act­ing against ha­tred is em­pow­er­ing for chil­dren. It will give them hope, which they des­per­ately need.

Hope comes from ac­tion. Hope comes from be­liev­ing you can make a dif­fer­ence. No­body is too young for that. The small­est ac­tions to­ward mend­ing the world, whether it’s kind­ness to a vul­ner­a­ble child on their school­yard or join­ing hands in a Ring of Peace, will grow our chil­dren’s em­pa­thy, in­clu­sion and be­lief in their own abil­ity to make the world a bet­ter place. This is how we de­feat our chil­dren’s de­spair and fear.

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