We must choose between the violence of adults
and the smiles of children. - Elie Wiesel
Who doesn’t enjoy seeing the smiles of children? But far too many children are not smiling. They’re not smiling because they live in a world of violence caused by adults who make war and weapons, adults who terrorize innocent people with speeding vehicles and deadly guns, adults who strike those with whom they disagree and curse those who look different from themselves. Children see this “adult” behavior and fear it, but they also learn to imitate it whether they see it in person or in the media, whether they hear it on the streets or in music.
Soon it will be the season of gift-giving, whether you are celebrating Christmas, Chanukah, or Kwanzaa, a time to celebrate light, love, and peace. It is one of the best times to bring smiles to children’s faces. But how do we do that if we perpetuate the violence not only in our words and deeds, but also in our gifts? How do Christians commemorate the birth of the one we call Prince of Peace if the gifts we give encourage conflict and competition? How do Jews commemorate the divine miracle of lasting, light-giving oil if the gifts we give promote the dark side of human behavior? How do African Americans celebrate family, community, and culture if the gifts we give divide people into enemies instead of friends?
When you choose gifts for the children in your life, please keep these questions in mind and consider toys that:
v Promote respectful, non-stereotyped, nonviolent interactions among children
v Can be used in many ways
v Allow children to be in charge of the play
v Appeal to children at more than one age or level of development
v Are not linked to video games, computers, TV, or movies,
v Can be used with other toys for new and more complex play
v Will stand the test of time as children develop new interests and skills
v Help children develop skills important for further learning and a sense of mastery
v Can be used alone or with others
v Can be enjoyed by boys and girls
- Toys that foster cooperation and teamwork, like dolls and puzzles and some board games
- Toys for constructing, like building blocks and molding clay
- Toys that inspire creative arts, like craft supplies and musical instruments
- Toys that promote movement, like bikes, wagons, and sports equipment
- Toys that promote dramatic play, like costumes and props, puppets and magic sets
- Toys that enhance the imagination, new ideas, and problem solving, like science and nature kits
- Toys that respect the environment, that can be reused and recycled
- And don’t forget books, magazine subscriptions, tickets to a show or movie, Teddy Bears, and you. There’s nothing better than YOUR time!
Happy, Peaceful Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanzaa!
Happy, Peaceful Holidays to All!
Thanks to www.truceteachers.org for the information presented in this flier. Visit their website, as well as www.responsibleshopper.org, and www.greenamerica.org for more ideas about gifts that promote the positive values we want for our children and have the extra benefit of being sweatshop-free and non-toxic.
This information is produced by Pax Christi Metro New York,
a region of Pax Christi USA, a member of Pax Christi International,
the Catholic peace movement.
For more information, contact 212-420-0250,
We encourage you to reproduce this leaflet
and share it with others.