Until we strongly address the root causes of hatred, the world is simply not a safer place. Feelings and actions related to arrogance and hatred do not abate with force, they only grow. Still, our proclamations of a safer world clearly show how much we desire to trust and live peaceably among each other.
This is why it is imperative that our time, attention, and resources be targeted–or at least not neglected to the degree that they are in our greater society–at what causes young people to be blindly swayed or coerced into destructive movements for a sense of belonging, love, and duty. To make the world a safer place, rather, it is raising our adults from very young ages with compassion, strength, confidence, love and empathy for everyone, not just their own. It is how we raise our children, how we treat our children and foster secure attachments, how we model love and compassion to them everyday as they grow into adults that truly changes the world. And it is these very origins of empathy and compassion, when fostered, that mediate the symptoms and pathways of violence and hatred: poverty, injustice, and inequality.
Vitally connected is how we support and inform those who are raising children, the parents, grandparents, and other caregivers. We must work to allay the stress and challenges of making a livelihood that make quality and intentional parenting a struggle. We need to value these mothers, fathers, grandparents, and caregivers and equip them with ongoing support, excellent and useful information, and encouragement and recognition for the important work they are doing. We need to raise awareness about attachment parenting.
This is why I believe so passionately in the work of Attachment Parenting International, carrying out this mission for the past 17 years: “To educate and support all parents in raising secure, joyful and empathic children in order to strengthen families and create a more compassionate world.” We cling to various strategies and programs to get at the solution to violence in the world, yet I believe it is by engaging in work like API’s and helping API exponentially reach more families that we could make the most difference.
For me, the questioning that arises regarding achieving a safer, more secure world invariably brings me to the importance of putting our energy into helping our children feel secure, loved, and loving from birth through adulthood. The Peace Corps idealism I have has not left me–I see a generation with a new empathy, a secure world for each person, for everyone brought about by parent heroes.