As Mary Austin referred to in the 2/6/23 eblast, the Foundational Essay for our study Make Peace talks about the small village called Le Chambon and the people there who hid Jewish families during WWII. “In their story, we encounter other aspects of making peace: asking good questions that bring your character and values to light in the midst of the conflicts of your time and overcoming fear of other.”
This is one of the hardest lessons children have to learn – who they are at heart and what and how willing they are to stand up for themselves and others. You may remember Neville Longbottom standing up to Harry, Ron and Hermione, and Dumbledore saying later something like, “It’s hard to stand up to your enemy, it’s harder still to stand up to your friends.” Children intuitively know what is right, what is just, what is fair and they instinctively rebel against injustice – we are hardwired to do so. But somewhere along the line we start to lose our nerve, to be more worried about being cool or popular than about doing the right thing. One of the hardest jobs we have as parents is to teach our children that standing up for justice, doing the right thing, speaking out and speaking up against wrong is always right – even when it might be scary, or uncool or unpopular. Many of our most iconic stories involve characters who stand up for what is right, who stand up to bullies, who risk being imprisoned or killed or least unpopular, to do the right thing.
There is a wonderful, though very sad story called The Cats of Kransinky Square, https://youtu.be/ApJjnTaMqOI. It’s about a little girl living in Warsaw during WWII who has escaped from the Jewish ghetto, and with her older sister and their friends smuggle food back into the ghetto. It is a powerful true story of bravery and love and one that I encourage you to share with your upper elementary age children. For your younger children, I Walk with Vanessa, https://youtu.be/pNzoxqKxUyI, is a heartwarming story that beautifully illustrates both agonizing over doing the right thing and then doing it.
Jesus consistently was our very best example of standing up for what’s right and just – whether it be standing up to the Pharisees who challenged his healing of a man with a withered hand on the Sabbath in the Synagogue or the devil in the desert. Jesus simply did the right thing and did it with great love and compassion.
Simple things, not always easy but simple, done with great love.
Director of Children and Young Families
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