Mindful discussions with children will encourage practice of active nonviolence

By Juliana Di Leonardo 

People address problems in many different ways, some ignore them or opt for a quick fix and others choose to eradicate the issue immediately. Lately, it feels like our current leaders are choosing to wear horse blinders to avoid seeing the actual issues that arise throughout their administration. It appears that greed, money and haste are what drive people in power, and there is a lack of consideration for health, the environment and the welfare of both human and non-human animals. This can be a depressing thought but instead of losing hope we can instead make positive change by getting active and educating ourselves and others. 

We can ensure a better future by focusing on bestowing our wisdom and knowledge upon future generations because our prospective leaders are today’s children. It is our responsibility to sow seeds of peace and kindness within the minds of our youths to create more compassionate individuals. As adults, it is also important for us to openly discuss the current issues we are facing today such as our climate crisis and gun violence, but in a way that empowers young people and motivates them to get active. It is especially easy to feel as though we cannot change or impact the world when we are exposed to a constant stream of negative news media but if we focus on what we do have control over then we will see that we have more power than we think. 

Fortunately, there are also people out there making a big effort to give special attention to grade school students like the Shanti Fund Inc., an organization that promotes peace and nonviolence among children. They cultivate peace-loving warriors, and host events that encourage children to make a difference by advocating through art. This past Thursday, the Shanti Fund held a lovely award ceremony at the Stonebridge Country Club in Smithtown where students from various schools across Long Island, ranging from first to twelfth grade, were awarded separate checks and certificates for creating art inspired by the words of Mahatma Gandhi and his mission for peace and nonviolence. It was very nice to see how supportive everyone was, especially the individual families and teachers that came to celebrate the children who submitted their artwork. It was clear that this event not only focused on peace and nonviolence but also bolstered the confidence and positive attitude that leads to successful adults. 

For this week’s Anuvrat or small vow, I encourage you to educate, support, encourage, and instill confidence in the children that you care for, know or interact with because they are our future. These mindful discussions will encourage the practice of ahimsa, active nonviolence, along with helping them navigate right thought and action.  

Juliana Di Leonardo is the Vice President of Humane Long Island. She is a yoga and ballroom dance instructor, model, and artist. Her advocacy for animals exploited by the fashion industry was credited in the 2021 documentary “The Face of Fashion is Fear” and was recognized by PETA with a Hero for Coyotes award.

Images courtesy of (scouting.com) and Provided

Share this post