This weekend some of our Arctic Wolves and Panda Bears will represent our school at the dawn service honouring all New Zealanders who participated at Gallipoli. It is with great reverence and pride that we remember these people and the sacrifices they made. In fact, several of the children had great grandparents involved in this, or the Second World War.
Our school ANZAC display
This is a time to consider the realities of war today and the significance of war in our history as a country. Yet as teachers and parents explaining war to our children is a difficult challenge. Of course we want to respect the courage and sacrifice of those who lost their lives, but none of us wish to glorify violence. This Centennial year and the high profile look by media at our countries involvement in World War One, will raise questions for many of our children. It may be the first time they will ask themselves about war and why it happens.
Crosses honouring local soldiers who died
So how do we talk to our children about all this in ways that make sense? Is there a way we can empower our children and use this time to also focus on peace. For me, it’s a bit like saying ‘do as I say not as I do’ because many of the leaders of our world don’t seem to be showing our children a concept of PEACE. If we have the courage to be really honest with ourselves and take responsibility for our actions (or non-actions) it is difficult to admit that actually far from knowing peace and living in peace, we are, in fact often doing the opposite. We have created war, poverty and hunger. We have created corporations that do not consider the individual as important.
So how do we enable our children to put their energy into learning peaceful ways of being? Surely we also need to use these times of commemoration to create a vision of world peace their great grandparents would approve of.
Tre Sylvawood, Acting Principal, Takaka Primary