We are blessed to live in an age when technology brings the world's citizens into more closely linked relationships than ever before. Tied by technology and travel, we are realizing the increasing impact that each person can have. As parents, teachers, and mentors, we need to influence children to be peacemakers.
5 life lessons that influence children to be peacemakers:
1. Teach them what is right. Fundamentally, peacemakers are doers--they bring peace with words and actions. Most people recognize what's wrong with our world, but peacemakers see how their choices impact others and they bring harmony through those choices. As your children grow, talk about situations that appear to be "gray areas" of morality so that they learn that the right and best choice can always be sought out.
2. Teach them to love mercy. As children grow, so does their understanding of justice. Initially, children often try to bring justice through force. In contrast, parents can model how to respond to injustice respectfully, firmly, and with patient self-control. (Forbearance is a good word to talk about as children grow older!)
3. Teach them to walk humbly with God. Peacemakers don't have an inflated view of who they are, yet they believe in their ability to bring peace to tense and challenging situations. If the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Psalms 111:10), then the lifelong pursuit of knowing God and understanding His nature enables us to better understand how to bring harmony and healing to relationships.
4. Teach them to speak truth with love. Truthful, tactful words give insight and provoke thought. When combined with love, such words have the capacity to bring dazzling changes to the darkest situations.
5. Teach them to reach out and embrace others. Instead of living convenient lives devoted to self-amusement, peacemakers step into difficult places to bring comfort. Enlarge your child's understanding of the world's cultures and peoples whenever possible. Wherever our children go, love can motivate them to listen, and listening promotes compassion and caring. Reaching out will also enable our children to form close relationships with others who can help bring positive change to the world.
These points are derived from the book of Micah in the Bible. Micah 6:8 says, "The Lord has already told you what is good, and this is what he requires: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God." Micah 5:5 says that when Christ returns, He will be the source of our peace.
As a new parent I found myself trying to control my child's choices, but I soon realized that modeling mercy and offering words of guidance were far more effective in promoting wiser choices. In these early parenting years, I help my children navigate through a lot of tense sibling moments by asking questions about what happened and suggesting an option or two for response. What peacemaking truths have you learned as you raise your children?