Monday, December 18, 2006

Fighting at School and Abroad

This was originally posted at Exponent 2. Go there to read the comments that were made.

As the Christmas season progresses, some liberals have been asking why Americans tend to get involved in war so easily. Yesterday the answer became very clear to me: we teach our little ones to fight. I was attending a Christmas luncheon with several sweet middle-class ladies from the neighborhood when the subject of fighting in school came up. Nice Mormon lady #1 said, “I teach my kids not to ever provoke a fight, but if someone picks on them, they should beat the heck out of ‘em.” I wasn’t exactly shocked to hear this, because the very same attitude has become all too prevalent in American society. I listened carefully to hear the reactions to her comment. All of the nice Mormon ladies in the room agreed that their child should hit back.

I differ a bit in my approach to a school fighting situation. I tell my children to walk away! Tell the teacher! Come home and report the incident to your parents so they can call and have a civil discussion with the perpetrator’s parents! Wasn’t this what your parents taught you? Wasn’t this what Christ taught?

No wonder Americans feel that if they haven’t started the fight, they are perfectly justified in jumping into the fray. They’ve been taught this by their mommies. Like Helaman’s warriors, mothers’ teachings have a great influence. Americans in general and Mormons in particular are especially driven by an internal mandate to keep the world safe for democracy.

I have a suggestion. Instead of sending soldiers with camouflage uniforms and guns over to other countries to “keep the peace” and help set up governments, let’s send over politicians. With briefcases and palm pilots. They can help keep the peace. They can teach principles of politics and government. Send over as many politicians as we have troops. They can walk the streets of Baghdad teaching little children how to set up email accounts. If there aren’t enough politicians, send the young business students in their three-piece suits over to campaign for capitalism.

This Christmas season, I send out a plea. Teach your children not to play with guns. Don’t give your teenager a hunting rifle for Christmas. Model conflict-resolving skills. Read to them about peace and humanitarianism. Preach Christ’s teachings of turning the other cheek. Yes, we must take action to keep our homes, families, and society safe. But let not these actions involve violence. Teach the children not to hit back.

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