Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Global Lessons for our children from the Life of Nelson Mandela

As the world mourns the passing if Nelson Mandela I couldn't help but think that his legacy of peace, resilience, tolerance and forgiveness are valuable lessons that we can pass on to our children. As parents of small and older children, many who weren't even alive to understand Mandela’s impact and journey, how can we use his legacy to inspire a new generation to lead in big and small ways, on the world stage or in their communities and personal lives.

Nelson Mandela's life and journey becomes a lesson in peace and equality and in the transformative power of resilience and forgiveness. These are all qualities that most parents would be pleased to have their child embody.

Consider asking your child, as you watch the news reports on Mandela’s life together, what they know about Nelson Mandela. Reading an article to your child is another great idea to try and personalize Mandela’s legacy for them. Highlight the values from Mandela’s life that resonate most with you as a parent.

Ask your child which of Madela’s values they see in themselves or seek for themselves. Ask them to point out people in their world—teachers, relatives and even you—embody these values. As a parent, I find it most fascinating to understand how a child sees themselves and their place in the world in relation to the other people in their lives. I remember when my godson, is who now eight, was four years old in preschool.  When we described his friends he used colorful words like ‘the boy with the yellow hair’ or ‘the girl with the big smile and freckles’.  He never described is friends as “black”, “white” or otherwise.  He described them based on their personality or true facial features. As adults we sometimes find ourselves putting people in boxes that are most excepted by society. The beauty of our children is that they don’t see these boxes at all. 

Read the rest of the column here: http://newsle.com/article/0/107768406/

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