Stories of Kindness from Around the World

How My Father Taught Me Non-Violence

--by Arun Gandhi, posted Sep 18, 2007
I was 16 years old and living with my parents at the institute my grandfather had founded 18 miles outside of Durban, South Africa, in the middle of the sugar plantations. We were deep in the country and had no neighbors, so my two sisters and I would always look forward to going to town to visit friends or go to the movies.

One day, my father asked me to drive him to town for an all-day conference, and I jumped at the chance. Since I was going to town, my mother gave me a list of groceries she needed and, since I had all day in town, my father ask me to take care of several pending chores, such as getting the car serviced. When I dropped my father off that morning, he said, 'I will meet you here at 5:00 p.m., and we will go home together.'

After hurriedly completing my chores, I went straight to the nearest movie theatre. I got so engrossed in a John Wayne double-feature that I forgot the time. It was 5:30 before I remembered. By the time I ran to the garage and got the car and hurried to where my father was waiting for me, it was almost 6:00. He anxiously asked me, 'Why were you late?' I was so ashamed of telling him I was watching a John Wayne western movie that I said, 'The car wasn't ready, so I had to wait,' not realizing that he had already called the garage. When he caught me in the lie, he said: 'There's something wrong in the way I brought you up that didn't give you the confidence to tell me the truth. In order to figure out where I went wrong with you, I'm going to walk home 18 miles and think about it.'

So, dressed in his suit and dress shoes, he began to walk home in the dark on mostly unpaved, unlit roads. I couldn't leave him, so for five-and-a-half hours I drove behind him, watching my father go through this agony for a stupid lie that I uttered.

I decided then and there that I was never going to lie again. I often think about that episode and wonder, if he had punished me the way we punish our children, whether I would have learned a lesson at all. I don't think so. I would have suffered the punishment and gone on doing the same thing. But this single non-violent action was so powerful that it is still as if it happened yesterday. That is the power of non-violence.
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Readers Comments

muzzammil wrote: A story to be used in my non violent training.
roshika wrote: I like this story beause it has intersing to me.
Andree wrote: This makes sense! However the father is punishing himself by humiliating his som. Different stroke for different folks.
AnnieJ wrote: I've read a lot of stories here, but this is definitely one of the most powerful lessons of kindness that i stil remember. :d
Michele wrote: All i can say is wow what a different approach and beautiful.
iferlamb wrote: What a powerful lesson. How unique a punishment. By punishing himself he got through to you as no other method would have. It stayed with you and i do believe, now, having read your story it will stay with me.

Diana wrote:

More love

We all need more love in this world.

There is more love to be given.

There is more love to gain.

Forget the pain.

More love.

More love when you are down.

More love to go round.

There is more love to be found.

Can’t get enough.

I want your love.

I want more love.

Your love, more love.

Can’t get enough.

More love.

More love is what we need.

More love for you and me.

More love is what i breathe.

More love is what i see.

Can’t get enough.

And if true love
Seems hard to find,
Then more love is on my mind.

More love is kind.

Can’t get enough.

We all need more love today.

There is more love on the way.

More love is here to stay.

More love is the way to heaven.

We all need to know
That we are loved.

True love, pure love.

Can’t get enough.

-diana lynn neiderhiser
Copyright © 2002.
Mitch wrote: Wow! Your father was a very wise-man. Without lifting a hand he taught you and me (by you sharing the story) a very important lesson.

Thank you for sharing a wonderful lesson and may god bless your father.

Harsh wrote: This is a revelation to me. I love this philosophy. 3 cheers to your dad. I want to teach my children the same thing when i grow up and have them. From this day on, i to will try not to lie. No, i will not lie, from this day on. Thank you for this valuable lesson. I might add this to my site if its ok with you.
Alexia wrote: This is beautiful.

I wish my parents had considered this method when i was growing up.

I love them very much, but no child whose parents hit them can honestly deny there wasn't resentment at the time.

The world truly needs more people like your father. I printed this story out because i can relate so much to what it speaks of.

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