Story About Non Violence from a Roman Soldier (for children 10-14 years)

Proverbs 3  Verse 31,

31 : Do not envy or copy a violent man or choose any of his ways

32: for the Lord detests a perverse man, but takes the upright into his confidence (New International Version of Old Testament)

Story from a Roman soldier

My name is Lucius.  I am a Roman soldier.  I came to Britain many years ago, two hundred years after the death of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

It was my job to provision the battalion.  I had to make sure that there would be enough to eat for every man, woman and child in our care, for indeed many of our men had wives and children with them.  We would deal with the local people.  We would barter for goods or pay for them with our own money if they would accept it.

We kept animals to feed ourselves.  We grew winter crops which we saved to feed our stock.  We introduced many new crops to Britannia.  Our goats and sheep would graze the pastures.  We wanted to live peaceably with the local populations if possible.  It was too exhausting to be at war.  We wanted to gain territory rather by doing business with the people than by subduing them with weapons.  We wanted them to feel they could welcome us into their towns and cities.  We could show them many ways of building roads and houses that were new to them.  This would make it more likely that they would want to become like us as they could see the advantages of our ways.

I remember on one occasion a young man from a village near our fort came to see me.  He said he wanted to join the battalion.  He was tired of life on the land and wanted to weald a sword instead of a ploughshare.  I asked him what he thought he would be doing with his sword.

“I will be killing people, of course,” said he.

“And why would you want to do that?” I enquired, surprised at his reply.

“That is what all Roman soldiers do,” said he.  “That is why Rome has come and taken our land, our towns and our villages.  That is why you can eat whenever you want to eat.  It is why you can wear fine clothes and live in grand fortresses.”

“Young man,” said I, “It is not by violence that we conquer this land; it is by power.  We are more powerful than you people.  There are many of us and we are well organised and well disciplined.  It is true that our swords are sharp and our lances long and lethal, but the truth is we rarely use them.  We do not wish to waste human blood.  Every man is of value.  Every person, Roman or Briton is precious to us.  Do not think that if you join our army you will be killing people every day.  Indeed it is to be hoped that you would never need to kill anyone.  It is the threat of violence that controls people, rather than violence itself.  An army needs strong discipline so that unnecessary killing is strictly avoided.

An undisciplined man who kills another without a thought for the value of life will find that others may take revenge upon him.  He himself will have a short life, and the life that he has will be constantly under threat.  Fear will rule his life.  In choosing a way of violence he is choosing a path of fear.

Questions:

  1. Why do you think the young man envied the Roman soldiers?

  1. How did he think they were able to control the local population?

  1. How did Lucius explain the truth?

  1. What is the danger of being a violent person?

  1. Does the story remind you of anything in your life, or in the lives of people you know about?

  1. What do you think verse 32 means?  In another translation of the Bible (New English) it says ‘For one who is not straight is detestable to the Lord, but upright men are in God’s confidence.’  There are lots of issues to consider here too!

The Initiation of Grey Wolf. (story to illustrate the base energy centre)

In the days when men and women roamed the plains and young people had to go through an initiation ceremony before they were accepted as adults, there was a young man. He was Grey Wolf. Now this young man was a gentle person who never wanted to hurt anyone or anything. This made life rather difficult for him, because the Red Man survives by cooperating with animal life, respectfully asking permission to kill, and then killing for food and clothing.

The time came for Grey Wolf to perform his initiation. He had to kill a buffalo. There were many ways to tackle this challenge and Grey Wolf decided that he would get us, his family, to dig a pit on the edge of the forest. His plan was to drive the buffalo into the pit. We dug, all of us. It was a huge pit. My father said it was big enough to catch the whole herd, but he was exaggerating somewhat. We covered the pit with branches and leaves so that it looked just like the rest of the forest floor. It was time for my brother to go. Now he was a very fine horseman. He and his horse moved as one. The horse could tell from the angle and the slightest pressure from his body where he was required to go.

A few hours later we heard a great crashing through the trees. It was Grey Wolf. He was driving two buffalo towards the pit! We looked on in amazement. Certainly and surely they neared the hole in the ground, and one after another they fell into it .

The buffalo charged into the pit.

The buffalo charged into the pit.

The first one died instantly, the second he quickly dispatched. Pale and shaking he emerged from the pit. We were all very proud of him. The Chief came to inspect his work:

“I see you were not content to prove you were as strong as one man, you have completed the work of two here, on this day. Well done! You are indeed fit to join the ranks of the men in the tribe.”

And the Chief bestowed an eagle feather head dress upon him. We all looked on in admiration. My brother may not have enjoyed killing, but he knew what had to be done for the survival of the tribe. We must eat, and buffalo is our main source of food. My brother, after that, used to be chosen to do the chasing, and left the killing to the others, but it is all one really. He who eats meat is acknowledging that it is part of Gods plan both in the animal kingdom and in man’s domain.

The base energy centre is situated at  the bottom of the spine.  It is associated with survival, bravery, hunting to feed oneself etc.  

The Bamboo House, a story about respecting animals (children 6-10 years)

The Bamboo House:

cockeral-lit

Susie lived in Malasia. When she was six years old something happened in the family which she would never forget.

Susie’s house was made of bamboo. Long poles of wood were used to hold up the roof, the walls and the floor.The house was built above the ground so that people did not get wet and a higher house was not so easy for the  wild creatures to get into.

There were three children in the family: Susie, her brother Sam and her sister Tali.

Their mother and father used to grow fruit for the family and to sell in the market.

One day, Father loaded up the baskets on his bicycle and set off to market. Mother stayed at home to look after the family. She was not feeling very well and she was tired.Mum fell asleep on the mat in the bedroom.

Sam was the eldest and he said he wanted to go and play in the garden. Susie didn’t think he ought to do that while their mum was asleep, because he should stay in the house and look after Tali who was only three years old. Tali could be a bit naughty sometimes.Sam went out to play and Susie looked after Tali while Mum as asleep.They played with their dolls made of palm leaves. They were very quiet so as not to wake Mum up.

After a while they heard some shouting. It was Sam and someone else.

“Stop. Come here,” said the voice.

“Go away!,” said Sam.

Mum woke up.“Whatever if the matter?” she asked. “What is Sam up to now?”

Sam appeared up the ladder and climbed in to the house. He was looking guilty.

“Whatever have you been up to, Sam?”

“I didn’t mean to frighten Mr. D’s chickens,” cried Sam.

Then Mr. D appeared below us, shaking his fist at Sam.

“That boy of yours, Mrs! He’s been shooting peas at my hens. They have all flown off into the jungle.  Wild animals may catch them and eat them if they are too frightened to come home.”

“Oh dear, oh dear!” said Mum.“This is the last thing I need today. Come on, all of you. We have to go and bring back Mr. D’s chickens. Sam, I am very cross with you.”

The houses were in a clearing in the jungle. The chickens had run away to hide in the trees. 

Cockerel in bushes

A cockerel was hiding in a bush.

It took a long time to find them and shoo them back.

Mum and Susie were very tired and cross when at last the chickens were all in their pen.

Sam felt bad. He had frightened the chickens and because of him everyone felt cross and tired, especially mum.

“I’m sorry, Mum. I won’t do it again. I didn’t mean to hurt the chickens. I was just practising my shooting.”

His mother sighed a big sigh.  “All right, Sam, but why don’t you hang some big leaves on the washing line and get your sister to pull it up and down. Then you’ll have a target that won’t get hurt.”

Susie enjoyed helping Sam with his target practice and he used his pea shooter to frighten away snakes and any other animals which were careless enough to climb up to the house.

  • What name might you give to the story?
  • How did Susie try to help her Mum at the start of the story?
  • Sam did several things which were not helpful and not good.  Can you remember what he did?
  • What did Sam do with his peashooter?
  • What might have happened to the chickens in the jungle?
  • What do you think about hurting or frightening animals?
  • Do you think Sam’s mum was kind or unkind? Why?
  • How did Susie help Sam at the end of the story?

Law 6, You must not commit murder (Laws of Life, North American Indian Tradition) for 10 years old to adult

A story from Calling Horse

You must nor commit murder

When I was a young man and had performed my initiation into adulthood, I was one of number of young braves who learnt together and who went through the rites and ceremonies together. We were a happy band with one exception. There was a young man who always seemed to have a cloud hanging over him. He came from a family which had lost their father . Their mother had had to bring up the children herself and had not had any support from a man. She had four young sons who used to argue a great deal and jostle for position in the family. Three of them were similar in age, two of them were twins, and the cloudy brave was one year younger. He always felt aggrieved that the twins seemed to have all the power in his household, and he had none.


One day the twins had gone hunting and had come back with nothing. Dark Water had managed to catch a small deer by himself. They had stolen it from him and had taken it as their quarry to show their mother, She always sided with them, and insulted our cloudy brave. He was mortally offended.


Dark Water went away to brood on his hatred. He disappeared for several days. His brothers felt guilty about what had happened and after much questioning from their mother, they admitted what they had done. Their mother turned pale.
“How could you treat your brother thus? This is not the way of the Great Spirit, to steal his glory to cover up your own failure. Shame! Go and find him, and don’t come back until you do.”


The twins set off to look for Dark Water. Their hearts were heavy, they knew he was a deeply resentful character. They wondered about their own safety. Perhaps he would kill one or both of them when he saw them. They realised that over the years they had given him enough cause for resentment, and now finally they had begun to regret it.
“But surely our brother would never kill us!” said one.

 “Why not? He has nothing to lose if he has decided to leave the tribe anyway.”
“Do you really think he would?”
“I would not blame him if he did.We have dishonoured him. We have cheated him.”
“When we see him how are we going to know what is in his heart?”

“Whatever it is it will not be good.”

“Do you think we should kill him first, so that he cannot kills us?”

“Well, it would solve the problem.  He would not come back and brood and threaten us like he always does.”

“But what if he does not plan to kill us and we kill him?”

“Then we will have to pay the penalty to the Great Spirit.”

The two continued in this vein as they traversed the countryside. No sign was to be seen of their brother. Further and further they went, looking for foot prints, for campfires, for signs of blood from a killing. They found nothing.
They decided to return, their fear beginning to lessen. Perhaps they would not have to face this dreadful decision to kill or be killed. They returned to camp. The twins found their mother very distraught.

“I have had a terrible dream.” she said. “I dreamt that you two killed your brother and returned, saying nothing to me. Then you went off on a hunting expedition, and you were both shot by the hunters’ arrows. What does all this mean? We must ask the chief.” The little family went to the chief and explained shamefacedly what had happened. The twins did not divulge their conversation about killing their brother. They were by now very frightened young men.


The chief sat quietly for some minutes with his eyes closed. Finally, “Yes,” he said, “I can see your brother. He is hiding in a tree just outside the camp. His heart is full of sorrow. He does not want to return to a loveless home where he is not appreciated, but he does not want to leave the tribe. What are you going to do about it?”  He looked directly at the twins.  They hung their heads in shame, greatly relieved that they had not actually killed their brother, and that their mother’s vision had only been a dream. They were very glad of the chance to make amends.

He is hiding in a tree just outside the camp

The family walked round the camp, calling their brother encouraging him to appear. Finally he emerged looking tired and drawn.
His mother enfolded him in her arms and begged forgiveness for neglecting him and for indulging the twins. The twins handed him their best weapons, a beautiful bow and a tomahawk, in recompense for their bad treatment of him. The youngest boy, just a child, held his brother’s hand as they all returned to the camp. The Great Spirit had saved them from the abomination of committing murder; never again did they harbour such black thoughts in their hearts.


A COMMENT BY CALLING HORSE

There was no controversy amongst those who knew it was wrong to kill any one you knew, but when it came to territorial struggles, or power struggles with other tribes, and blood was shed, who was in the right? Was ‘might’ right, or did the ‘ meek inherit the earth’? Of course we did not have your Bible, or your way of doing things. Might, in general, was right, but most tribes were not pugnacious. They were peace loving and respected the lives of all people whether they were of their own tribe or not.

The Child Who Never Was (story: help to deal with the guilt of abortion)

The Child Who Never Was

My name is Adam. I have come to tell you about my life, or rather what my life would have been like, had I been born, which I was not.

I started after an act of passion during the short relationship of my mother and my father. They had no plans in their minds to create a life. They had been willing to throw all caution to the four winds and to experience that which drew them together. Sexual attraction drew them together, little else.

Nature is a hard task master. My mother was a fertile young woman and my father a virile and selfish young man. I was the result of this communion. When my mother realised that I existed, at first she denied it. How could it be? She and the young man hardly knew each other and had slept together on only one occasion. My mother, being naïve and optimistic, ignored the fact that she had not had a period for several weeks. My father knew nothing at all of my existence. He was a young student, studying to become a lawyer and his parents had great hopes for him. My mother was a barmaid with a pretty smile and little experience in life. Her parents were hard working people. Her mother was a cleaner and her father worked as a menial clerk on a poor wage. They loved their daughter and had brought her up to be a good girl, but had not equipped her with the knowledge or the wisdom to deal with flattering young men like my father.

I was alerted to my presence in my mother’s womb. I was no more than a small puff of energy quietly awaiting the birth of a body which I was not destined to inhabit.

My mother started to feel sick and had to take time off work. Her boss was a canny woman of the world. She soon guessed at the problem and its cause. She took my mother aside. After initial denial my mother admitted that this woman’s suspicions were not unfounded and that she didn’t know what to do.

“I’ll tell you what to do; you must get rid of it as soon as possible. Your mum and dad can’t afford to support a baby and neither can you. Its father is long gone and he wouldn’t want to know anyway, would he?”

The reality of the situation began to dawn on my mother, a girl of seventeen who had always been too willing to please others, especially if they flattered her and made her feel good.

She thought long and hard. Could she bring up a child on her own? She didn’t think it would be fair to expect her parents to do it. They could hardly pay the bills at the moment let alone having her and a child to support. The young man had lost interest in her as soon as he had had his way with her. She would get no support from him. She pictured herself in a high rise council flat, herself and a baby, unable to afford much more than to clothe it and feed it; lonely and bored with no partner to love her or the child. She pictured a fatherless little boy, depending on her for everything and not being able to give him what he needed. She pictured an angry and resentful teenager growing up with no role model of a father to guide him. She pictured herself tied to the child with little or no opportunity to go out and meet a proper caring husband and father for her children.

My mother realised that everything was against her bringing me into the world unless she gave me away for adoption. That thought made her weep remorsefully. That she could not do. She knew she had a lot of love to give and that if she had the chance again she would give it at the proper time to children that she chose to have with a husband that she loved. She did wonder about my soul or spirit. She did not feel certain about such things, but she reasoned that I could come back again and be born to her in another baby, and she would love me properly then.

She decided to have an abortion. Her parents did not know about this and were unable to comfort her at the time. She felt very alone, vulnerable and sad.

I did my best to console her. I stayed with her and tried to comfort her. It was not my destiny to be born as a living child to her, but rather to accompany her and the children that she did have. I was able to help her to know that she had in difficult circumstances made an acceptable decision, and that living a life of guilt and remorse would do her no good and serve no purpose at all. I helped her to see the beauty of her own life and to respect herself and never to be taken in by selfish men following their own lustful desires.

My mother has had a happy life. She has two little girls, but she is aware of the shadow of the little boy she never had, and sometimes she talks to me and I do what I can to let her know that she is forgiven.