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posted: 4/26/2014 8:00 AM

Gandhi grandson to Naperville kids: 'Become the light'

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  • Arun Gandhi, grandson of the late Indian leader Mahatma Gandhi, signs copies of his children's book, "Grandfather Gandhi," during a visit Friday to Longwood Elementary in Naperville. Gandhi said his grandfather taught him to use anger in a positive way and become a light for the world.

       Arun Gandhi, grandson of the late Indian leader Mahatma Gandhi, signs copies of his children's book, "Grandfather Gandhi," during a visit Friday to Longwood Elementary in Naperville. Gandhi said his grandfather taught him to use anger in a positive way and become a light for the world.
    Photos by Scott Sanders | Staff Photographer

  • Arun Gandhi, grandson of the late Indian leader Mahatma Gandhi, shares lessons from his children's book, "Grandfather Gandhi," with students Friday in Naperville.

       Arun Gandhi, grandson of the late Indian leader Mahatma Gandhi, shares lessons from his children's book, "Grandfather Gandhi," with students Friday in Naperville.
    Scott Sanders | Staff Photographer

 
 

Students at Naperville's Longwood Elementary School heard a philosophical message from a descendant of a historical thinker Friday when Arun Gandhi shared lessons from his children's book, "Grandfather Gandhi."

The author said he learned valuable and thoughtful life lessons when as a boy, his parents sent him to live in India with his grandfather -- the nonviolent leader who pushed for Indian independence from Britain, the man named Mohandas Gandhi and known by the honorary term Mahatma Gandhi.

"The first lesson that my grandfather taught me was about understanding anger and being able to use that energy intelligently rather than abuse the energy," Gandhi told students at the Naperville school.

The elder Gandhi's patient responses to his grandson's pestering taught the author about the importance of suppressing anger and turning the darkness of the world into light, he said. That lesson, along with a message of peace, carries through the book, which Gandhi and co-author Bethany Hegedus began writing after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11.

"We have to become the light. Just as electrical energy used properly gives us light, in the same way we must be the light so we can make this world a better place tor everyone to live in," Gandhi said.

Near the end of his presentation to students, Gandhi mentioned a well-known quote of his grandfather's as he advised the students to take positive action toward improving their little corners of the universe.

"If we become the change that we wish to see in the world, if we change ourselves and become better human beings, we can then change the world and the world will become a better place," Gandhi told the students. "So it always begins with us."

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