With a forward by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, this book is a must read for any parents or teachers that offers inspiring lessons from remarkable individuals, committed parents and compassionate children. With revealing stories and insights from the not-so-typical childhoods of Craig and Marc Kielburger, readers will learn how small actions every day can make the world a better place and have a lasting influence on their child's life.
We are now at the beginning of the 21st century and when we look back on the 20th century we can clearly see that while there were important human inventions, particularly in the fields of science and technology, it was also a century of bloodshed. Some say that more than two hundred million people were killed as a result of war during the last century. This painful experience came about because many people assumed that they could solve problems through recourse to violence. Learning from their mistakes, I believe we should all try instead to make this 21st century a century of peace.
Peace does not mean that all our problems will disappear. As long as human beings exist, there will always be some differences among us. Peace means restraining from violence and using our common sense when there is a possibility of conflict. Genuine peace can be engendered through understanding that all human beings are like us in wanting happiness and not wanting fear and stress. The idea of distinction between “us” and “them” is now outdated because in today’s reality everything is interdependent. Therefore, we should embrace the idea that the entire six billion human beings are part of “us.”
The children of today belong to the 21st century and can give a new shape to a new era. All of us should aim to make this a century of peace and compassion. How can we go about this? Believe that in order to have the confidence to trust, understand and respect others, some kind of inner disarmament is necessary. To begin with, we need to embark on the difficult task of developing love and compassion within ourselves. Only in this way can we address the underlying causes that disturb us and prevent our finding peace and happiness. Machines cannot generate the inner peace we require, nor can peace be bought in a shop. Peace is something that has to come from inside, through transforming our hearts and minds.
Everyone has the potential to be more compassionate and loving, since we have all received a genuine seed of compassion from our mother. But these seeds need to be nurtured through education. Children require an all-round education that not only exercises their intelligence, but also teaches the value of being warmhearted. I am therefore pleased to see that this book highlights the importance of training in compassion and other inner strengths in the upbringing of children. I hope that parents and teachers will take the time to read it and come to appreciate the positive qualities they can encourage in their children and students.