From Kent First Presbyterian Church on January 17 to Snohomish Presbyterian Church on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, those words rang out clearly. "You have to be carefully taught--to be peacemakers."
A salute goes to J.P. at Shasta. You taught those adults well, Jose. They carefully listened to your story of talking to Dan Arkin, the man in the wheelchair who you met at the developing peace park on the field trip. It was as if you and Dan were in a world apart as the two of you talked and became friends. This past week, over 100 people in Washington State listened to your story of how Dan, a prestigious disabilities lawyer and Nobel Laureate Project Board member, urged you to go to college one day. He believed that you could live out MLK, Jr.'s dreams. He knew that you had researched Martin and that your thoughts had been changed by a hero's life. Later when you debriefed the encounter at school, you proudly spoke about this encouraging adult who believed in you. You mentioned that Dan encouraged you to do your homework(I loved that!) because you needed to be prepared to make a difference in the world. I remember when you restated your dream/vision of peace: "My vision of peace is to become President of the United States to stop violence and war." Mr. Arkin, recently deceased, listened to you. MLK, Jr., deceased in 1968, influenced you. The seeds are planted, aren't they?
You really do have to be carefully taught...to love...to have compassion...to be active, not passive peacemakers.
My vision of peace this past year has already been written a number of times but it never hurts to restate it either, to reactivate my peace commitment: " My V.O.P is that middle schoolers will teach adults what they may have forgotten about peace. I will travel one year with a peace quilt sharing visions of peace inspired by these sixth grade teachers. I will ask all ages to send postcard visions to Oprah Winfrey without the hope of recognition but with the expectation that individual actions can make peaceful change. AND, I will have a blasted good time doing it."
These past two years have centered on a social studies curriculum that I could entitle PEACE 101. It can be summarized in a unit plan, but not easily. Soon I will write lesson plans incorporating social studies, language arts, speech, and character education for anyone who might be interested. I'll attach them to this blog.