Let us enhance our Christmas time by knowledge of how to gain and spread PEACE among us.
Peace requires persistence and a commitment to never giving up.
1. TELL STORIES. One of the stories, a true one, that I like best is the story of the Christmas Truce during World War I. The British and German soldiers came out of their trenches, shared food and drink, showed each other photos of their families and sang Christmas carols together. They saw each other as human beings, and only returned to their trenches, resuming the fighting, after being threatened by their officers.
Another story is that of Sadako Sasaki, a young girl who was exposed to radiation poisoning when the US bombed Hiroshima. Ten years later Sadako came down with Leukemia. She tried to regain her health by folding 1000 paper cranes, a Japanese symbol of longevity. On one of the cranes she wrote, â€œI will write peace on your wings, and you will fly all over the world.â€ Unfortunately, she died before she finished folding the cranes. Her classmates finished the folding and today there is a statue in the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park dedicated to Sadako and other children who died in the atomic blasts. The statue is always surrounded by tens of thousands of paper cranes sent from all over the world.
2. USE PEACE HEROES AS ROLE MODELS. There are many amazing peace heroes, living and dead, who have made significant contributions to peace during their lives. You can read sketches of some of these heroes at the Nuclear Age Peace Foundationâ€™s website: http://www.wagingpeace.org. You can also study such leaders as Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., Caesar Chavez, Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu, Mother Teresa and others in greater depth. When examining problems of peace, it is always helpful to ask the question: What would Gandhi do? Or, fill in the name of your favorite peace hero.
3. INFUSE DRAMA, ART AND POETRY. Through literature, art and poetry there is much to be learned about peace and war. Lists of books, movies and poems can be found in the Peace Issues section of http://www.wagingpeace.org. Some of the classic books are All Quiet on the Western Front, Johnny Got His Gun, and Dr. Strangelove. My favorite anti-war movie is The King of Hearts. Such books and movies can open the door to important discussions.
4. TEACH CRITICAL THINKING. Young people have to learn how to ask questions and probe deeply, rather than just accepting the word of authority figures. They also have to learn how to gather evidence, how to evaluate the source of information, how to apply logic, and so on.
5. GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE. Young people need to break the bonds of nationalism and think globally. Applying a global perspective allows one to see the world as a whole, rather than from the narrow vantage point of a single country. We badly need education for global citizenship. Just as many symbols are used that connote nationalism (the flag, monuments, historical perspectives, etc.), we need to also use symbols that connote global citizenship, such as the flag with the beautiful representation of the Earth from outer space.
6. REVERSE THE ROMAN DICTUM. The Roman dictum says, â€œIf you want peace, prepare for war.â€ The human species has followed that dictum for the past 2,500 years, and it has always resulted in more war. We need to reverse the Roman dictum and prepare for peace if that is what we truly desire. We prepare for peace by building a culture of peace, within our nations and in the world. Peace is not only the absence of war, but also positive actions to improve health, education and human rights.
7. REEXAMINE HISTORICAL MYTHS. Most countries have developed myths about their own goodness which are not historically accurate. History is told through stories of battles, but there is far more to history than this. These myths need to be exposed to the fresh air of investigation. We will likely find that wars are not glorious and victories are often built on unacceptable atrocities.
8. TEACH PEACE AS PROACTIVE. Many people confuse peace with solitude, meditation and contemplation, but peace is not passive. It is a dynamic set of forces kept in balance by individuals and institutions committed to solving conflicts without violence. Peace requires action. You cannot sit back and wait for peace to arrive. Individuals must proactively work for peace. It is not a spectator sport. Anything that one does to build community and cooperation is a contribution to peace.
9. ENGENDER THE ABILITY TO EMPATHIZE. Young people must learn to empathize with others, to feel their pain and sorrow. One way of killing empathy is to brand members of a group, including whole countries, as enemies, and dehumanize the members of that group. Empathy begins with the realization that each of us is a miracle, unique in all the world. How can one miracle kill another or wage war, committing indiscriminate mass murder?
10. TEACH BY EXAMPLE. To the extent that a teacher can model peace in their own life, their lessons will be more authentic. As well as teaching peace, we should try to live peace, making empathy, cooperation and nonviolent conflict resolution part of our daily lives.
I hope that some of these ideas may be helpful in making peace a subject of study, concern and action, both in the classroom and beyond. Peace has never been more important than in our nuclear-armed world, and we each have a responsibility to study peace, live peace and teach peace. We should also keep in mind that peace is a long-term project that once achieved must be maintained.
Veronika Prielozna, MA in her peace of Sat Nam
Source of Wisdom : Marianne Williamson