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.