Child As Peacemaker

We parents try to teach our children to value peace. We break up fights, settle arguments, and tell our children that their fighting is bad. We seem not to realize that children are the world's most excellent peacemakers. Highly perceptive, sensitive, innocent, and loving--all children crave for peace and cringe at even the slightest form of discord. They will do anything to restore harmony, especially in their own families. Without instruction, without prompting, children play the role of peacemakers simply by being children. One evening, my husband and I were arguing in the presence of our toddler child, Amy. It had been a long day and we were both very tired, and therefore short on patience. "Will you watch Amy while I get some rest?" I pleaded. "Mary, you watch her. You know I've got to study." Back and forth the argument went, each of us asking the other to take care of the baby. After a while we were very angry at each other. Suddenly, Amy stepped between us. "Daddy, I love you," she said, looking up at my husband. "Mommy," she said turning to me, "I love you." The argument ended. My husband and I looked at each other. We looked at our baby. Where there had been anger, there was now peace. Amy went back to playing. My husband and I both ended up watching her--my husband, from his typewriter, and I from the couch.

Mary Beth Nakade Berkeley, California