We celebrate the life and work of Martin Luther King, Jr. and his unwavering commitment to nonviolence. For those of us who practice (or on some days, at least attempt to practice) nonviolent parenting, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day can be an occasion to restate our own commitment to nonviolence and to also ask ourselves, “what does committing to nonviolence mean to me in my life?” This question can apply not only to our children, but also to our partners, friends, co-workers, the community in which we live, and to those with whom we have challenging relationships. Sometimes, these end up being the same people!
At Echo Parenting & Education, we define nonviolence as the profound respect for the life force of every human being. Holding that profound respect is a daily practice and, in regards to nonviolent parenting, is done with the conscious intention of establishing and sustaining a connection with our children.
We say “conscious intention” because nonviolent parenting is a deliberate choice. Why we have made the choice may vary among us as well as the ways in which we were brought to this practice.
“I choose nonviolence to break the cycles of violence in my family and to contribute to humanity. I choose nonviolence to make a change and difference in my children’s future and the world of tomorrow. I choose nonviolence to heal the from the pain of violence in my childhood.”
“I choose nonviolent parenting because parenting through the dominant paradigm is confusing, frustrating, and painful.”
“I choose nonviolence because it’s the only way! I have experienced the “dominant paradigm world,” we lived in and I have experience nonviolence and I know in my heart and in my higher brain that this is the way to live, be in relationships and to take care of the world we live in.”
“I chose nonviolent parenting so I could break the cycle of violence in my family and I feel like I have done that. I am glad to be a good role model that does not use violence towards my kids”
“I choose nonviolence because it’s the quickest and most direct way to my heart.”
“I choose nonviolence because it is based on respect for the dignity of each individual, young or old.”
“I choose nonviolent parenting because it offers the gift of self-empathy. When I lose connection to my son, we can repair the rupture and also have the knowledge that that repair is meaningful. I now have the tools to practice self-compassion and to model it for my son.”
“Raising children with care. Raising children to care….that’s why I choose nonviolence. Nonviolent Parenting has given me the opportunity to break the cycle of violence therefore creating amazing, compassionate and empathic young women making the world just a little bit better. Choosing Nonviolent Parenting has surrounded me with wonderful people who have become a second family, a family that I never imagined having. And although being nonviolent is one of the most challenging things I’ve been confronted with. The mere fact that I choose it, has improved the quality of my life and those who surround me.”
“I choose nonviolent parenting because knowing what I know now about the power of empathy and how the brain responds to compassion and connection, I couldn’t do it any other way.”
“I choose nonviolent parenting because it seems to be the best way to make the world a better place for everyone.
By choosing to parent nonviolently we are setting the stage for our children to expect respect, fairness and equality, not just for themselves, but for everyone. Through the practice of nonviolence, we are liberating them from hopelessness, powerlessness and oppression — we are not only engaging in the process of people making, but world-shaping. It is truly a big goal, but when working together in community, one that it absolutely possible.
So on this Martin Luther King Jr. Day, let’s all join together to re-commit to nonviolence and ask ourselves “Why do I choose nonviolence?”