Last Saturday, the whole world was shocked to hear the terrible news about the attacks in Paris, France. It’s not only the French who’s mourning; the whole of humanity is praying that these kinds of horrible acts stop. We all want a better place for the next generation, a world where violence and divisiveness are things of the past.
This is not the first time the world has witnessed this kind of tragedy. Time and again, the spotlight turns to these human disasters—and in their wake, how to prevent them from happening again—but these are slowly forgotten until the next one blows up the news again. Everyone, young and old, needs to be conscious of upholding peace all throughout our lives.
If you need a reminder, let this be the one to remind you that we can be instigators of hate, or instigators of peace and love. Choose peace and love, like these kids chose to do.
Jane Richards, then six years old, lost one of her legs in the 2013 Boston Marathon Bombing. Her brother Martin, who was eight at the time, was the youngest person killed in that attack. And yet days after Matin's death, a photo of him holding up a sign with a very important message for the whole world to see went viral. The sign read, "No more hurting people. Peace."
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Last Saturday, after attacks on Paris have dominated global news channels, Jane, now 9, recreated her brother's sign, this time in French. See, this young boy knows all too well what it feels like to be a victim of a horrible act of terrorism, and yet she chose the same message of peace and love. A photo of her sign was posted on the Martin Richard Foundation’s Facebook page, the same site that put up her brother's photo.
"To Paris. With love, from Jane. #NoMoreHurtingPeoplePeace", the caption read. The simple yet powerful message hit each and every one who stands with France to show their support in the wake of the terrorist attacks that claimed more than a hundred dead and more than 300 injured.
Kids are never spared when events like this happen, no matter how we try to shield them. Jayme Roblas, a licensed teacher who majored in Values Education, says it's important to talk to kids about what they see in the news, even if it's bad. “We can tell the child how we can help,” says Roblas, who is also a mom. “We can tell them we need to pray, and be compassionate and caring to people around us. We can also tell them that we should always repay hate with love.”
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Don't underestimate a child's capacity to love, to heal, and to forgive. It's always amazing how kids can open their hearts and help everyone else's grow a little bigger.
Sources: November 16, 2015. “After Paris Attacks, Boston Bombing Survivor Sends Message Of Love” (huffingtonpost.com) November 14, 2015. Jane Richard sends brother Martin's message to people of France (wcvb.com)