There is only one man in the world and his name is All Men.
There is only one woman in the world and her name is All Women.
There is only one child in the world and the child’s name is All Children.
— Carl Sandburg
We stand on the brink of undreamed exploitation of children as instruments of war, killing and worse. It is time to carefully teach the next generation to appreciate and honor those distinctions that make humans unique.
The words of composers and songwriters Rodgers and Hammerstein cannot be ignored:
You’ve got to be taught, before it’s too late,
Before you are six or seven or eight,
To hate all the people your relatives hate –
You’ve got to be carefully taught.
All day, every day we are making distinctions, observing ourselves and others – where we live, the food we eat, and so much more. We can’t help notice if an individual is old or young, black or white, Muslim or Christian, male or female. It is an integral part of learning and living. According to Eviator Zerubavel, “Separating entities from their surrounding is what allows us to see them in the first place. By the same token, the way we classify people determines whom we trust and whom we fear.”
Distinctions are not bad; they help us to make good decisions, right decisions. They keep us safe and aware of the world around us. But why are individuals warring over our individual differences? Do we want everyone to be like us? Is doing it “our way” the only way?
The issue isn’t distinctions; it is the beliefs we associate with them. This occurs when we find it impossible to distinguish between an event or person and the meaning we associate with that distinction. This is called a belief.
How can we exchange a belief for a distinction? As Hammerstein stated so appropriately, “I do not believe in this [gross prejudice]. I do not believe these things are born in you.”
Schools, parents, teachers, and politicians can stand strongly and clearly for the power of diversity: we can be different from one another. We can be thin, large, black, white, Muslim or Christian, rich or poor. Ethical education is the key to appreciating those qualities that make us unique. “Care filled” education is the key to healing a generation of children who are caught in the middle of war, propaganda and dehumanization. We can do this. We must do this now!
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Source: Black Voices Huffington Post
Link: The Importance of Ethical Education