Our children are not really ours. They are not given to us to keep or to own, but entrusted to us for an all too brief time in which to nourish their bodies, set their feet on the path they will walk to adulthood, and teach them what it means to be be human. While the day-to-day moments of parenting are fun and can be silly, the work that is being done in those moments carries a weight of the highest importance. Marcy Axness, in Parenting for Peace: Raising the Next Generation of Peacemakers (2012, Sentient Press), calls upon us to make good on the oft repeated claim that "our children are our future." If this is so, and it is, then it's time that we parent our children in a way that prepares them to engage with the challenges of the future — environmental and social — with peace rather than conflict.
This is not a parenting "how-to" book. There are no lists of things to check off in order to raise a member of Generation Peace. Rather, it is a neurobiologically-based approach to and a philosophy about parenting with guidelines to help in the implementation of its ideals at each stage of your child's life from pre-conception through the early school years. In the simplest of terms, what makes for kind, caring, peaceful adults is an internalized sense of trust and security. This comes from having a close attachment to a primary caregiver, mom, when young. It is this secure attachment to one person in childhood that allows an individual to then generalize feelings of empathy and love to humanity as they mature.
For each stage, Axness discusses the important neurobiological milestones that are occurring and describes how to best work with nature to nurture these developments. This is followed with a helpful "Principles to Practice" section that gives practical advice in each of the six areas that she has identified as key to healthy growth: Presence, Awareness, Rhythm, Example, Nurturance, Trust, and Simplicity. It is very clear that these are not rigid rules that you must follow, but rather a list of suggestions to assist in implementing the ideals explored.