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Setting a good example - and other things Nelson Mandela taught us about raising children

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It takes a village to raise a child, is how the saying goes. But where can we find that village? As a parent, you can use all the advice on raising children in the world. Especially if it’s Nelson Mandela’s advice.

About Mandela

Nelson Mandela (1918-2013) was a South African anti-apartheid  activist and politician. He was involved in the battle against the South African apartheid regime. In 1963, he was sentenced with a lifelong emprisonment, and he spent 27 years in prison. In 1993, he received the Nobel Peace Prize. He stood up for equality by means of non-violent revolutions, and he firmly believed that dignity and love could change the world – not anger.

Trick 1: A good example will be keenly followed

Setting a good example is supposed to have a bigger influence on children, than answering their yelling with your own. One of the mantras of non-violent resistence is: don’t make hay when the sun shines, but wait until everyone has calmed down. Then you speak your mind about what bothered you. Teach children to channel their anger by doing so yourself.

By the way, this has an equally positive effect on grown ups. Increasing your self control, anger management. Taking a good look at your own behavior, instead of other people’s flaws, might be the solution in all kinds of relationships. In the end, that’s what non-violent resistence comes down to.

Trick 2: Take full responsibility

It’s important for the world, for society, for our families: taking full responsibility for our own anger, our discomfort, our own actions. Becoming better people and setting the right example. ‘One of the most difficult things is not to change society - but to change yourself,’ Nelson Mandela spoke shortly before the end of his presidency.

Text: Pauline Bijster - Photo: Janko Ferlic