IG’s Peace Blog

Peace and its many aspects

The Family and Peace

The family is a fundamental unit of society (perhaps the fundamental unit), and what is learned there seems to have a profound and long term impact on the individual.  So, if peace, and the values that support and sustain peace, can be learned in the family, this should facilitate and accelerate peace efforts in the community, the nation and beyond.  Many have made arguments similar to this, including, for instance the Pope (again, just informing not necesarily endorsing); but I wanted to make a few observations not always included in “family values” discourse.

Peace, at least positive peace, involves solidarity,  justice, equality and dialogue.  If a child grows up in a family where these are practiced between parents and among all family members, then such virtues will seem right and natural, and the child will, almost intuitively, react to injustice and conflict, and want to see them reduced and eliminated.  Gender equality, ie between the father and mother, would seem essential to achieve this end.  However, if a child grows up in a patriarchal (or conceivably matriarchal) environment where one parent dominates the other, where that parent’s word is always law and where, in the extreme case, there might even be the overt or covert use of violence to maintain parental authority; then such a child might feel oppression, force and domination of the weak by the strong are normal.

What I’ve portrayed here are extremes, and probably over simplications, but I think the basic point is valid:  (positive) peace in the family cannot but “spill over” toward  peace at other levels of society.   So, efforts to help the family everywhere, and particularly in post-conflict societies, should be high on everybody’s agenda.

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January 15, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , ,

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