35 ways to teach your child how to love humankind and live in a terrorism-free world

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A note from theindusparent’s head of content on countering terrorism from a mother’s perspective

A fun Friday night in Paris turned into the deadliest terrorist attack Europe has witnessed in over a decade. At least 128 people were confirmed killed, 352 were injured and 99 were reported critical during a wave of gun and bomb attacks in the city. Hours after the attack, ISIS claimed responsibility, stating it was retaliation for France’s bombing in Syria.

When I read about the attacks, I felt a sharp pang for the families who lost their loved ones, especially parents who lost their children. The tragedy hit close to home because my children and I come from the Philippines, a country harboring three terrorist organizations that are globally notorious for Islamic-related violence ranging from kidnappings to beheadings. Keeping my children away from terrorism is an every day reality we face. 

So as a mother, I can’t help but let a tragedy like the Paris attacks kick the parental impulse up a notch to make sure my children are happy, healthy and, most of all, safe. Yet, to only think about how I can shelter my children from harm seems too much of an inward intent because addressing terrorism as a parent isn’t only about this. Parenting as a means to counter terrorism must also involve an outward approach: that while we focus on providing them a safe harbor, we also focus on how our children can positively impact others.

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Image screengrabbed from theguardian.com

If you dig deep enough, terrorism happens because we don’t teach our children to respect, value and celebrate diversity enough. However, encouraging children to be tolerant of other people’s culture, race, religion or ideology is only scratching the surface – because practicing tolerance connotes a response toward a person or following an event. I believe what we should be striving for instead is to raise children who possess the benevolence to do good simply because they are good.

To end the cycle of fear, hate and violence that terrorism brings, we start at the core by inculcating love and kindness in our children. Through this foundation, we can then harness tolerance, camaraderie, respect, patience, compassion and empathy – which together make a potent cocktail of social and emotional skills to counter piousness, injustice, oppression and despair.

How do we as parents ensure that we are raising children who are loving and kind? Continue reading…