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I was corresponding with my friend Scaughdt the other day about our nature as humans. The question I was wrestling with is, “Are we only moral because our religions tell us to be so? Or rather does everyone have a moral compass within them that they either choose to hear or ignore?”

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Jesus said, ”

Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven.” So what do children have or know that we have forgotten or lost?

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Elsewhere we are told to, “Train up a child in the way they should go, and even when they are old, they will not depart from it.” One of my students saw the many drawings that I use as demonstrations, and he made his own, beautifully I might add.

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One of my students gave me a pin that says “Make Art Not War.” Another gave me a drawing that simply said “Peace” in bright colors. Another gave me a bracelet that I now wear everyday that says, “I am PEACE”. On the inside it also reads, “Love is not something you look for…Love is something you become.”

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I don’t talk to the kids about what I believe. Sometimes they ask me how far I ran. One asked me why I were a t-shirt everyday that says Peace. What I think is far cooler is that they don’t need to…that is they get it.

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On a deep level, I think that they get it without me ever saying anything. I hope that I live PEACE enough that they see it demonstrated somewhat regularly. Every person when they walk into a classroom wants to know three things. 1. Is this going to be fun? 2. What do I need to do to succeed? 3. Will this person treat me with respect?

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I mean what is the point of any religion, meditation, moral or ethical thought if not applied? If I write all this stuff about peace, but don’t apply it to these beautiful children I am worse than a hypocrite. And yet I do fail occasionally. I do get frustrated. And yet everyday, we look each other in the eye and say thank you. They know that I don’t have to be there, I know too that neither do they. We appreciate the other. We love the other. And they help me love the world as I am able.

My student Dylan packed 10 lunches for me to distribute  to the homeless a while back. He put an orange, PBJ sandwich, juice, chips, and even a See’s candy bar in each one. This 11 year old gets it. No one told him to do that. He on a deep visceral level gets it. He understands being kind. All these kids do.

They recognize that there is something that they can do. They can be peace, they can be love, and they can be the change they wish to see in the world. Oh that we all may be more like them.

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