The reason I’m sharing this post is because I’ve personally felt overwhelmed in the past trying to explain Remembrance Day to our young kiddos. A lot of the history surrounding great wars is not age appropriate for our boys, but last year I came to the realization that this special day is an excellent time to have a conversation about values that have been learned by society throughout the process of overcoming war and conflict. The core concepts that I focus on with our preschoolers are: freedom, sacrifice, service, problem-solving, and being a peacemaker.
I hope this post helps you break down the grandiosity of Remembrance Day to your young kiddos or students :)
We discuss how different people all over the world face challenges every day. Sometimes the challenges are small, like not having the money to buy new toys, and other times the challenges are big, like not having the money to buy food. I ask our boys to remember a time when their bellies felt grumbly, and then to imagine how hungry they would feel if they went days without food. I think its important to start these conversations early in life to develop an understanding of what true struggles are and how people of all ages have to overcome them. Food and hunger is a relatively easy concept to teach to younger kids, so once I feel our kids have grasped the idea of how fortunate they are to have access to food, we move on to the concept of feeling safe in our country and having freedom.
I try my best to explain ‘freedom’ and how our country has a rule that everyone- no matter how different we all are, will be treated fairly and with respect. We discuss how there are certain countries that are still trying to find a way to treat people with respect and fairness. In some countries, the leaders are not doing a good job of treating everyone with kindness and people do not feel safe because of that. For example, there are rules in some countries that don’t allow girls to go to school or even share their ideas, simply because they are a girl. Another example of an unfair rule is that everyone must believe in the same religion. Each country has their own set of rules, but if the rules are really unfair, and there are people being hurt or feeling scared because of them, then people from all over the world will try to help and create more peace.
Sacrifice & Service
People who choose to help sacrifice a lot in order to travel to that country and create more peace. Typically, this means being apart from their family for a long time and living without their favorite ‘things’ that make them feel as comfortable as they do when they are at home. The sacrifices these people make are often worth it, though, because they are spreading peace in the world and serving or helping others who truly need it.
When problems arise in countries, or between different leaders, the most important thing to remember is how to problem solve. Just like how we do at home or in school, we use our words and treat others with respect in order to work through an issue. If we do not use our words, and instead act out of anger, someone may get hurt, things may get broken, and we can ruin friendships. When we have really big feelings about a topic like what the best TV show is, or what the ‘right’ religion is, it can be hard to stay calm enough to problem solve. The more we practice using respectful words and listening to how other people feel, the easier it is to solve an issue.
Being a Peacemaker
Just like how there are people who travel across the world to spread peace, we can go on a mission to spread peace in our homes and schools. When we see something that is not right, such as bullying, we can be peacemakers and help our friends solve a problem. Being a peacemaker is easy and makes us feel good inside. All we need to do is pay attention to what is happening around us, treat our friends with respect, listen to how others feel, and help each other problem solve.
Until next time,