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Saturday, January 21, 2006

Teach Love and Change the World

The best time to stop a man from becoming abusive is before he becomes a man. We can coach boys into becoming good men by teaching them that violence against women is wrong.

This involves sex, too, because sexual violence is sadly becoming more and more common. We also have to teach the practicalities of safe sex when sex is consensual. We have to teach the emotional after-effects when two people decide to connect in this way. But it doesn't just centre around sex or making love.

Along with teaching them the failings of abuse, we must also try to teach our children what love is and its implications, because with this comes great responsibility. Abuse can sometimes be an outlet as a failure to love correctly.

With love must come respect, for yourself and your partner. You must be free and relaxed enough to bare your soul and share a joke all at the same time.

There will be lessons that can be learned only through living, by making mistakes, gaining and accumulating experiences that will ultimately hone a person's instincts so that they can tell the difference between a heartbreaker and a heartwarmer.

Yet, the ground rules can still be set. Giving a child a strong foundation will steady him when he takes a wrong route. If he happens to fall, there will be a safety net that will catch him.

In my opinion these lessons should start as early as possible.

I don't mean filling a child's head with rules and regulations and restrictions. It must be a clever balance through story-telling, showing by example and provoking critical thinking.

These young people are far more clever at the ages of 2-7 than the world at large generally gives them credit and this is when we must imbue them with the rules to be able to think for themselves, and we must realise that in their teenage years they need their freedom to be able to get the answers to the questions which we have guided them to ask.

We must give them the tools, but they must draw themselves, forge their own characters, not as we want to envisage them, but as they see themselves.

They not only need our protection but our guidance, but we who give guidance must keep an open mind that sometimes the student can teach the teacher. For who can really say that they can patent love? Can we create that spark in a laboratory? Does it have an equation we can quote?

No, we can only teach love by showing love.

As we grow older we tend to forget our youth. The passions we felt so extremely, now tempered by grown-up reality and practicality means nothing to youth. Adults know that the world owns them, but youth believes that it owns the world.

How well Shakespeare understood youth allied with passion. In his play Romeo and Juliet, a passionate Juliet is ready to break all ties and family traditions to elope with her Romeo:

"And all my fortunes at thy foot I'll lay,
And follow thee my lord throughout the world.
"
Act 2, Scene II

There is courage in Juliet's words. No holding back, simple conviction that proper love, love respected could change their world.

And in being able to follow through with their convictions, the deaths of Romeo and Juliet did change their world and bring peace to their feuding families.

Less dramatically so, but that is what we should ultimately teach our children.

That they can change the world.

My Life Handbook: Part one: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

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