I go out and speak to people about changing the world, and I also go out and speak about ending violence. I speak about ending violence of all kinds (Domestic, Bullying, discrimination, hate crimes, etc) and about creating a nonviolence world. (Yes, there is a difference) I speak about saving the earth and climate change as well. I lend my voice and abilities to as many good and great causes that I can. I inspire people to change the way things are in this world.
One of the other things I do is teach a 3 – 5 day curriculum, spread into 5 weeks, about ending violence, saving the earth, and changing the world.
This Wednesday I went to the 1st class of the nonviolence curriculum. These classes are taught in local rec centers, YMCA, or Boys and Girls Clubs for ages 9-14. I like to educate them that the normality of their world…no matter how violent…it doesn’t have to be that way. Then I explain that they, yes them that are sitting there listening to be at 11 years of age, can end this and change the world. They are flabbergasted, and when they really do something…they can’t believe their eyes that they were part of it.
I was explaining why violence is so prevalent in our society and world. I then asked a question I’ve asked adults: If someone slapped you in your face, would you hit them back?
When I asked the adults 99% of the people said…Yes, they would hit the other person back. Actually, they made a lot of other comments about what they would do to those people, but we’ll leave at that. In fact, I even asked some peace loving bully trainers if they would hit them back and the numbers were 80%…lower, but sad since “walk away” is one of the rules we give to kids who are being pushed, hit, and all around bullied. When I asked teachers, the numbers were in the 85% range….and these are the examples of how to deal with violence.
The students age 10-13, 85% said they’d hit them back. Then I asked if they had been told to hit someone back as a way of “standing up for yourself”. Or if a trusted adult told them to hit the person back. The phrase…an eye for an eye came up, but still 87% (yes, the number changed.) stood on the side of the room where an adult or parent that was very close to them, told them they should hit someone back if they were hit.
“An eye for an eye, makes the whole world blind” – Ghandi
“If someone slaps you, turn and offer them the other cheek” – Yeshawa ben Joseph (prophet)
“Violence creates violence, just as oak trees create oak trees” – Thoreau
This is the status of our world. Eighty-five percent of people believe that violence must be answered with violence.
Violence being answered with violence creates pain, bleeding, mutilation, war, destruction, and death. We’ve seen this throughout the entire history of the world…it hasn’t worked yet, why do we keep doing it again and again?
“Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is the definition of insanity” – Albert Einstein
When I asked if this makes sense, I got everyone talking and explaining they wouldn’t “let” someone hit them and do nothing about it. But one small voice of a 9 year old girl with locks in her hair asked, “But if violence hurts people, why is that the answer? Aren’t we suppose to “not hurt” people?”
Violence, just like happiness, is a choice. There is no reason for violence, but we have been taught when to use it. We are a violent culture that embraces violence as a normal aspect of life, and simply the way that people interact with each other. There have been leaders after leaders have shown us a different way. They have shown us the way to nonviolence.
“Nonviolence is not the absence of violence. On the contrary, nonviolence is the creation of understanding and acceptance for your fellow person. – Thigh Nicht Nag
I had all the students stand facing the windows and the door. I explained we are standing in our current world. The future is ahead of us…we have to decide what it looks like. If we don’t want the violence in our future, let’s eliminate it now!