America’s native Lenni Lenape people felt that weapons or anything that might bring to mind any image of war or violence such as an arrow or a hatchet, even a stick of firewood that could be imagined as a club, should be removed from a place where peace was being negotiated.
They understood the grasping nature of a mind searching for difficult solutions and how an image, a word or a gesture could disrupt the chain of thoughts. They were meticulous in their choice of place, time and people involved in negotiations so that nothing should disturb the delicate process of searching for the path to peace.
Likewise, they felt fewer words had greater impact and so eloquence and brevity were highly valued in their pursuit of life-giving peace treaties for their people.
We have recorded the bloody calculus of failed and successful treaties. We have witnessed the disappearance of entire populations whose leaders failed to find a way to negotiate survival. Our children still carry these dark memories of our unspeakable horrors in their bones and blood.
Yet we continue to add to every child’s burden with things out of place, adult words and images scattered about in a child’s world. In their grasping child’s minds are they seeing images and hearing words about their own need for guidance and protection? Or are the images and words being scattered around them about an adult need for power and abuse?
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