On the eve of Mothers Day I ask you this...mothers, step-mothers, grandmothers...are we doing enough to help our children create a more peaceful world? According to the Carter Center, we are living in the most violent time in our human history. What is causing the gap between our global intention for peace and our present reality?
While writing my book for all ages, Where Peace Lives, I reached a stunning conclusion. Peace is not an ideal, which is how we presently treat it. Peace is a discipline, a practice, a muscle that has to be strengthened or else it goes weak. Presently, we have no formal practice of peace because peace has been excluded from our global educational curriculum.
I recently had the privilege of teaching peace to over 200 young people in Los Angeles public and charter schools. Teaching calls forward the 'mother' in me at a very deep level. The kids had read advanced copies of Where Peace Lives, and had a lot they wanted to share. Whether they were 8 or 18, their challenges were shockingly the same; gang violence, racial slurs/bullying and sexual discrimination -- from the mouths of eleven year old girls! I was shocked...and saddened. I realized that our children are viscerally aware of the heightened violence on this planet. It has permeated every aspect of their lives. They are hungry to make a difference, desperate to affect their reality in a positive way, but they are unsure of how to do it.
What is the solution? To make peace a class, in every school, at every grade level, in classrooms all over the world so our children can learn the 'art' of getting along, which isn't easy, reflected by the current state of the world. Tolerance, respect and patience are acquired skills, they are learned attributes, practiced choices, and until our children begin to study, learn and practice peace, I believe this is as good as it gets.
I don't want my kids to live in a world of blame, intolerance and hatred. Are you?
Here's my mother's day challenge: march into the principals office of your child's school. Sit down and don't get up until he/she agrees to make peace a formal class, and I'm not talking about another after school program. Demand that peace be right after English and just before history! It's time we placed an equally high value on peace. Insist that the school teach your children how to resolve their differences, courageously lead with their hearts and practice the sacred peace key, forgiveness. What is truly more important, how our children do on standardized tests or what kind of human beings they are and will become? I believe it is our obligation, as mothers, to get peace into our classrooms so our children can study, learn and practice peace. Then, and only then, can we rest assured they will fulfill their divine destinies as peacemakers and the world will become a more peaceful place.