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Someone You Know May Kill You

Someone You Know May Kill You

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Published by Bill Allin
When we fail to teach young children the important concepts they need to know, such as how to avoid violence and conflict, they learn from other sources. Those other sources teach them that violence is the way of the world.
When we fail to teach young children the important concepts they need to know, such as how to avoid violence and conflict, they learn from other sources. Those other sources teach them that violence is the way of the world.

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Published by: Bill Allin on Nov 05, 2006
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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No society that feeds its children on tales of successful violence can expect themnot to believe that violence in the end is rewarded.- Margaret Mead, anthropologist (1901-1978)Margaret Mead was an anthropologist, for heaven's sake. Why should we pay anyattention to the opinion of an anthropologist?Let's work through this together. An anthropologist is a person who studies thehistory of humankind before any humans recorded their own history. She dug upartifacts of prehistoric humans, then built histories around what their lives musthave been like based on the collections she found.However, the history of prehistoric humans means little unless you know a greatdeal about recorded history. When you see patterns in that, you can determine ifand when similar patterns occurred before history was recorded. You might say thatanthropologists are super-masters of human history, both recorded and before.Margaret Mead knew that ancient societies that taught violence to their childrenin the form of stories were themselves likely to have an average lifespan formales of fewer than 30 years because many of them would die in wars.As anyone who attended high school more than a generation ago can testify,historical knowledge focussed on battles and wars more than anything else in thedays when Margaret Mead was considered one of the tops in her field.She knew that if you teach violence and war to children, they will be warriors asadults. "Teaching war" means in story form, just as much teaching today isconveyed through stories. Today we do this through conversations around thekitchen table, through television, video games or movies and with war toys thatprime young children before they have any real concept of what war is and thedevastation it wreaks.By simple deduction we can understand that majory concepts such as how adultstreat each other may be taught to children who have yet to reach school age, notby classroom-style lessons, but incidentally.Young children have a great deal to learn in the two decades they are given beforethey reach adulthood. Before formal lessons begin in school or at home, they mustlearn by absorbing what adults teach them while the adults think the kids aren'tpaying any attention.The main job that children have before they go to school is to absorb as much asthey can of what happens around them, then sort through this massive and jumbledmess of information to derive some sense of what the world around them is about.Children learn concepts easily. It's how they learn everything for their first fewyears. They learn concepts before they learn facts to support them in many cases.If we want them to learn the concept of peace, we must teach them peace and showthem the ways of peaceful people. We must also give them alternatives to violenceand anger when things don't go the way they want with other kids and adults.If we don't actively and consciously teach peace as a concept to young children,they learn about adults from other sources. Most of those other sources teach themthat the world of adults is violent.In some countries, they also learn about the peaceful ways of their people as theystudy in school. In other countries, they learn to fear others and that the best

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