Our daughter is almost two years old. I can’t believe it. Time seemed to pass by so slowly when she was an infant…the days just ran together (probably from utter exhaustion). Now, she is a feisty, active, exploring toddler!
As she gets older, I strive to continue to find creative ways to embed routines into our day-to-day life that cultivate peace and calm. After a two year hiatus, I’m finally beginning to practice meditation again. It’s a beautiful feeling to be able to come back to it…to have the tools stored in my mind. I hope she feels this way, too, as she gets older.
Anxiety runs far and wide in my family, so I’m hoping that I’m increasing her self-love, self-regulation, and resiliency through these practices.
When thinking about peace, a question lingers in my consciousness.
Can I teach my daughter about peace without incorporating social justice and addressing her white privilege?
My daughter is not even two years old, so how does that work? I’m still putting the pieces together, still making mistakes and still growing. But I think what speaks the loudest to our little ones is the power of observation.
So I SHOW her with my actions the importance of speaking out against all oppressive systems through our life together.
- Who do we support?
- Who do we vote for?
- How do we spend our money?
- Are we actively involved in our community?
- Do we strive to align our actions with our beliefs?
- Who do we spend our time with?
- Can we call people out on their oppressive language and mindsets?
- When we make a mistake, do we apologize & do better?
Part of trying to actively strive to do better includes learning and seeking out resources written by empowering activists who are changing the world.
Some of these activists and organizations include: Rachel Cargle, Anti-bias Montessori, Embrace Race, A Striving Parent, Ijumaa Jordan, Raising Luminaries, Books for Littles, Little Feminist, and Raising Race Conscious Children.
Striving to teach my daughter about peace + social justice is of dire importance to her growth as a compassionate human being, to my family and to the world. With that said, I’m aware that there is always room for continued growth! I’m constantly researching resources to add to my bag of tools.
Along with the above actions, here are three ways to help your child understand what peace is, and what it isn’t:
Find Children’s Books Promoting Peace & Activism
I expose my daughter to children’s books that show and speak peace with their illustrations, words and simple narratives. Once she is speaking, children’s books are a gateway to create conversations around difficult issues and foster activism.
*Below are some of the children’s books that we read together around the topic of peace. Purchase books written Black & Indigenous authors, as well as books written by People of Color. Follow disabled and Autistic authors, authors of different gender identities and authors who are LGBTQI+. See Books for Littles & Raising Luminaries above for fabulous suggestions & make sure to support them on Patreon!*
Create a Peace Tray
This peace tray is in my daughter’s room. I try to always have fresh flowers from the garden on the peace tray because I believe that feeling peace through nature helps center and ground us.
This mindset leads us into the bigger understanding of “we are all connected.” Every. Single. One. Of. Us. This also is a beautiful gateway into activism. If we want all beings to be peaceful…we have a whole lotta work to put in.
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”—Martin Luther King Jr.
The contents of the Peace Tray include:
- Wood from great grandma’s house
- Maya basket given to her by a friend in Belize as a gift
- Shell from Florida
- Stone we found walking around Austin
These objects from nature are there to remind her that peace doesn’t come from material things, but from the very Earth we call home. The idea is that she can come to her peace tray and take deep belly breaths when she is feeling overwhelmed or upset.
Sing Songs of Peace
The following song connects to the objects on the peace tray. We sing this song every night before bed, or whenever she needs to ground herself.
“Mother Nature gives us peace from the stone.
Mother Nature gives us peace from the shell.
Mother Nature gives us peace from the tree.
May All Beings Be Peaceful.”
(Repeat as many times as you like and make up a tune to go along!)
I hope some of these ideas have motivated you to continue to engage with teachings of peace and social justice within your home!
I’d love to hear your feedback and ideas in the comments below!
With heart always,