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In fourth and fifth grade, my elementary school offered students to be a part of a program called “Peace Patrol,” where members would walk in pairs around the playground to mediate any conflicts afoot.  We had a checklist of things to say to both parties in attempts of reaching a mutual agreement.  It was a decent way of making the playground less aggressive and teaching students how to be more cooperative.

Also, we would meet once a month to discuss ways of resolving issues (e.g. discuss hypotheticals, watch videos on peacemaking, etc.)  At the end of every meeting, we would say something we all hoped would happen.  One boy raised his hand and said “I wish for peace to happen in the Middle East.”  While I believe he had the purest intent and had one of the deepest hopes of the group, I don’t think it’s as easy as we wish.

Before you roll your eyes and say “duh,” think about it.  Think about how often we try to vie for peace and yet our actions are of malice.  How often did you see people post quotes “make love, not war” during the Iraqi War?  On my end, it was a lot.  Yet I promise 70% of them did not live their life in a manner of love.  I guarantee that over 70% of them maliciously gossiped about others, slandered friends behind their backs, or burned bridges in the most devastating way.

Going back to the Peace Patrol, I didn’t stay with them very long.  There was one individual that didn’t like me and spewed lies, claiming that the administrator let me go, hiding my Peace Patrol jacket, and more.  I should have reported her to the admin, but I was too young to understand what to do.  But once again:  how can this girl want to be a peacemaker amongst the playground when she can’t get along with a coworker team member? [for lack of a better term]

I am not here to condemn that child for wanting world peace.  If anything, I am here to support him.  He might have been “naïve” in not understanding how difficult the path to world peace was, but it should be a goal we aim for.  But we cannot reach it if we merely shoot for the stars.  Change primarily starts from the grassroots—from our communities.

If we are peaceful to our neighbor and teach the people around us how to truly love, then perhaps our goal can be met.  If we stop verbally backstabbing our friends, stop judging loved ones who’ve made mistakes, and begin to learn how to truly forgive, perhaps this child’s wish can be fulfilled.

To end this idea, here are the thoughts of a woman who lived a life she professed:

“There is so much suffering, so much hatred, so much misery, and we with our prayer, with our sacrifice are beginning at home. Love begins at home, and it is not how much we do, but how much love we put in the action that we do.”
—Mother Teresa, 1979 Nobel Lecture


About Jonathan Seligman

Jon is the Co-Founder and Executive Editor of NWYT. While his main profession is in education/music/history, he has a deep passion for philosophy, theology, ice cream, and everything else that life has to offer. See All of Jon's Posts

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