Raising Your Baby on Peace (guest essay)

Raising Your Baby on Peace

353,000 babies will be born today and each one will have a choice of two paths through life: a peaceful one or a violent one. Evidence suggests that babies who are born into violent circumstances will be more likely to continue this cycle of violence when they become adults. It can be difficult to shift deeply ingrained attitudes. If you are expecting a baby, then how can you raise them in a culture of peace? Doing your bit as a parent or guardian will contribute towards sustainable peace for generations to come.

credit: Photos In Cancun

Reasons Be Optimistic for the Next Generation

Due to the hard work of peace activists and democratic governments, we currently live in the most peaceful era of human history. Babies being born today are less likely to experience violence than any previous generation. Global crime rates are down, with the rate of homicide decreasing from 20 in 100,000 in the Middle Ages to just 1 in 100,000 today. Death rates in wars since the peak of World War Two have decreased more than hundredfold.

Through the work of religious peacemakers and intergovernmental organizations, there are many reasons to feel optimistic about the next generation. They have the chance to be part of a truly peaceful society, through battling the last remaining areas of war and violence. Take comfort in the relative safety that your newborn is entering, then build on it with lessons of peace.

Teaching Peace Early in Life

The first stages of a human’s life involve fulfilling basic baby needs, such as providing food and sleep. However, it is never too early to begin instilling the right values in your offspring. Research suggests that physical punishment increases levels of violence in children as they age. Even among small babies, a firm “no” is comprehensible and therefore getting physical is rarely, if ever, necessary. 

As your child starts to ask questions about the world, teaching lessons of peace become paramount. The golden rule – treating others as you would wish to be treated – should be one of their first moral lessons. Be sure to reiterate this to encourage peaceful behaviors as your child develops into an adult.

Maintaining an Awareness of Violence

Despite the many reasons to be optimistic, you should also be willing to face the reality of violence. In the US alone, 20 people a minute are subject to domestic violence from a partner. Although war and per capita deaths, along with violent crime, are at their lowest levels ever, there is still work to be done. If we don’t acknowledge these hard truths, then overcoming it will be impossible. Furthermore, society must be educated on periods of war and violence, such as the Holocaust and World War Two, because those who do not learn about this history are at risk of repeating it.

There has never been a more peaceful time to raise a child, but that doesn’t mean that there is not work still to be done. Raising your baby in a culture of peace, tolerance, and understanding will set them on a path which increases the global level of peace.

Sally Perkins

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