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Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

What have your parents taught you about war and violence?

Asked by Simone_De_Beauvoir (38942points) March 16th, 2011

My parents never really discussed their persecution during the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict for being Armenian and my grandfather never really discussed the Armenian genocide of his ancestors until I asked point blank about both. They always found war and violence kind of inevitable but never really talked about it to us except expressing general gendered notions about my brother being able to fight as he was a boy and me..well, not so much…

What did your parents teach you about war and violence or pacifism? What, in turn, have you taught your children?

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16 Answers

mattbrowne's avatar

My mother told me that when she was six (in 1945) in the middle of her village she saw a hanged German soldier dangling from a tree. He was a deserter and didn’t believe in Hitler’s lunacy anymore.

My father was fourteen when his house was bombed by allied forces. There were no firetrucks. They had to use buckets and water from a well.

All their stories conveyed the message that war is something utterly horrible. Wars unleash the beast inside of people and foster a vicious cycle of hated and despair.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

My dad was a Korean War vet that saw combat while in the Marine Corp.
He told me a few things before his death and it gave me a decent understanding of what he and others went through.He didn’t talk about it much though and I understand why.
He was not against self-protection or protecting one’s family and country at all.
He did however have a problem with gratuitous violence in movies and watching people suffer for entertainment.
I don’t have children,but I know if I did they would be taught to protect themselves from an early age.

crisw's avatar

My mother was one of the very few in our neighborhood to oppose the Vietnam War. One of my early childhood memories is of a bracelet she wore with a name of a POW- I wish we still had that bracelet.

Both my parents were veterans, but only my father saw combat (in WWII.) He never would talk about it.

Seek's avatar

My parents are idiots.

“Rah, rah! We’re ‘Mericans, and good ‘Mericans love three things: huntin’, fishin’, country gospel music, and killin’ them heathen colored folk. If they didn’t want no ‘Mericans fightin’ in their country, they shouddna kilt Jesus and hated us first.”

I will raise my son to be… not an idiot.

JeanPaulSartre's avatar

My dad was in counter-intelligence on the ground in Vietnam… when I thought briefly about enlisting after high school, he very quietly took me aside and said something to the effect of “the military hasn’t helped anyone since long before I enlisted, they are a tool of greed and death.” My dad is a man of few words.

My mum was an actual hippie… I honestly wish I knew her then, because I always wondered what happened that made her so concerned with “propriety” since then… anyway, she was always very clear about the use of violence being terrible, regardless of the scale – that if that’s what it came down to, then something was missed that could have avoided it.

I guess my parents kind of met in the middle and mellowed over the years.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

I was just told that violence is never a good thing, except in self defense. This reminds me of the bullying question. We really only talked about violence in regard to bullying and such. My dear old redneck daddy told me, “Don’t never start no fight, but if someone starts one with ya, you damn well better finish it.” That was pretty much the extent of our talk about violence, LOL.

I don’t really remember talking about war, except when the “Gulf War” started. We talked a little about that, but I was so young (10 I think?) that I had no idea what to think or to say.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

My parents were hippies, war protesters and social cause protesters. My dad was a Vietnam vet who was never involved in combat situations but had a belief Americans were unwanted, un needed and wasted in wars. Both my parents believe America is imperialistic and socially self destructive. We never talked about wars, there was no need for me to speak my mind or opinion when I had two such vocal parents to report and dissect every bit of news in the world they came across.

josie's avatar

Interesting you would ask, because my dad, a veteran, who taught me how to defend myself, and encouraged me to serve in the military, had a very specific message about this very topic.
He said that it was wrong to start what he called “violent trouble” ,and therefore I should not do it- but that inevitably, someone else would start it, and I should know what to do about it. Good question-makes me remember my father.

Seelix's avatar

My parents haven’t really taught me anything, except for the basic “it’s wrong”.

Your details intrigue me, though – Mr. Fiance has a friend who is Armenian, and his entire family refuses to discuss the genocide. Maybe it’s a cultural thing with Armenians?

Blackberry's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr maybe I’m putting too much faith in Americans(Lol!)....But is that a real quote?

My mother didn’t tell me anything, and my dad said he was at the invasion of the bay of pigs but didn’t give much detail.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Seelix Hm, don’t know. Probably not.

augustlan's avatar

This is a really interesting question, and one I’d love for my children to answer. Sending them all the link. I’m curious to see what they believe I’ve taught them, since I don’t think we’ve ever had one big conversation about war and violence… just an ongoing discussion as things come up.

To answer for myself, war was never really discussed at all when I was growing up, except in history class. Probably because I did most of my growing up during a relatively ‘peaceful’ time. (I was born in 1967, and was a high school senior in 1985.) As far as general violence is concerned, the only thing I really remember is one of my uncles (not the bad one) teaching me self-defense skills when I started developing into a young woman.

Bellatrix's avatar

My father fought in WW2 and yet like so many of the parents mentioned here rarely spoke about it. He didn’t want to talk about it. I haven’t been involved personally in any wars or conflicts but I do talk to my children about conflicts that are happening around the world and I hope I am instilling in them the importance of looking beyond the rhetoric. I hope my children are never in a position where they have to be involved in a military conflict.

mattbrowne's avatar

One of my grandfathers was in the trenches in WWI near Verdun. He was wounded and this probably saved his life. Recovery took a long time. According to my grandmother he didn’t talk about it at all for more than 10 years. Nothing. But she felt that terrible things must have happened. And then in 1933 when Hitler took control using radios trying to brainwash an entire nation, he started talking about the horrors of war. There will be another war, my grandmother said, I can tell from the sound of Hitler’s voice over the radio. My grandfather nodded gravely. They knew what all this would lead to. Because of his severe injury from WWI he did not have to serve again. The war in 1939 started without him.

laineybug's avatar

Just to make my mom happy (she sent me the link to this), I’m answering. I’m not exactly sure about all that we’ve talked about dealing with war and violence, but the gist of what I know is that violence isn’t allowed in our house even if someone else started it. The only time I’m allowed to use violence is if it’s for self defense against someone trying to hurt me (unless it’s one of my sisters). I don’t think I’ve ever really talked to my mom or dad about war, and if I have I don’t remember it. I don’t think that war is good, but when it’s necessary, it’s necessary, you know? There are usually better ways to deal with things, but sometimes there’s not. That’s the only time war is okay.

lightsourcetrickster's avatar

I was lucky enough to have a grandfather serve in WW2, and my father serve in the Light Infantry. The take on the two generations is entirely different. For one it was a necessity to serve your country, or else that comb-over’ed idiot in Germany at the time was gonna have his way with the entire western hemisphere. For the other it was a dream to serve his country. Whilst my Grandpa fought to live in WW2, I think there’s a small part of me that feels certain that my Dad almost lived for war. Like it was something he absolutely cherished the notion of. He’s an old man now, retired, but left at a respectable rank (pretty much the best you can get to be), and I still feel certain he misses those days, and would rather be oiling up a squad assault weapon or an SA80 (as they were in those days, I don’t know if they use different now).

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