A FAMILY of YOUNG SOULS, promoting peace
“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings.
Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees.
The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy,
while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.” — John Muir
Peace Begins With You
The best place to start is so simple we sometimes overlook it. Peace begins with you. Everything you do can bring you and the world closer to peace. We will be looking at how Peace Pals, one by one, can discover and teach others this important lesson.
All of us are special in our own way. We share the gifts of the earth, the air, the water and other natural wonders. In addition we share a common bond of being human. As all of us begin to bring peace into our own lives we bring peace to the world.
Every child has the right to love, affection, and understanding. Be loving and kind to others. Remember, your actions express your inner peace. There will be times when it will be difficult to remain peaceful. This is very natural. By remaining committed to peace, solutions to problems will be easier to imagine.
Peace begins with you. Start by taking good care of yourself. Include time in your day for exercise and play and a quiet time for reflection, rest, meditation, and prayer. Spend time outdoors to enjoy nature. Start and end each day with a peaceful thought.
A Place for Peace
Is there a place where you can go and spend some time alone, or be with friends just to think about peace? Creating or finding your own place can be very enjoyable. A peace place can be indoors or outdoors. If outdoors, try to find a quiet place, like under a tree, in a garden or park, or on a walk by the ocean, in the forest, or in the mountains. Spending time with nature will bring you close to the earth.
Indoors, a peace place is a spot set aside for your favorite things, books, special photos, or artwork that help you to feel peace and joy. What helps you feel peaceful? This could be flowers, leaves, rocks, crystals, a
poem, or anything that is special to you.
In creating your own peace place, use your imagination. This place will be your own sanctuary where you can come and sit whenever you want to, a place where you can think about peace, meditate, pray, or quiet your mind. You might ask others to join you for some peace time when you want to share your special spot.
Some trees are thousands of years old, making them the oldest living things on earth. Nature is a great teacher if we learn to listen. Like the tree with its roots planted in the earth, we can learn by building upon the knowledge of our ancestors. Each generation passes along to the next a wealth of knowledge to guide us in our lives. We in turn carry it on to the next generation, and so on. We continue to add to this knowledge and it grows like the ancient tree.
Here is something you can do to understand how connected you are to your family, your friends, and friends you have yet to meet. Go for a walk in the woods. Find a big tree with lots of branches and sit next to it. Breathe in deeply and smell its rich earthiness. Now, draw a picture of the tree, including the ground, the roots, the trunk, and the branches. You may use markers or paint or colored pencils to make your tree the way you want it to look.
Now write down the names of your ancestors on the roots of the tree. You may need to do some research, and this is a great way to get to know your parents, grandparents, and even great-grandparents better by asking them questions. Write the names of your parents at the base of the tree, your own name on the trunk. Then, name all the branches with your brothers and sisters, your friends, your classmates, your Peace Pals, your relatives, and other people who are important in your life. Some of the branches may not have names, showing that there are new people in your life for you to meet and discover.
The branches of this tree reach out in all directions. You will find we spend our whole lives learning. The great variety of wisdom offers something for everyone. This is one of the great joys in our lives. Students and teachers, children and parents, young and old — we all learn from one another.
Friendship is based on love and trust. Sharing experiences with friends can bring joy into your life. Friendship can last a lifetime. The deeper our friendship grows, the more we learn about ourselves. Friends offer a great opportunity to learn to live in peace and harmony with the earth and with each other.
When we speak of community we think of the place where we live, work, and play. The community also includes the people who share this space, their relationships and common interests. Communities can be thought of in different sizes from small villages to cities, from a local school to a university, to a country, to the world.
Some important questions to ask as part of a community are: What can we do to make the community a better place? What can we do to help others in our community? What are some ways we can bring peace into our community?
Our vision of peace makes a full circle and embraces the planet as a whole. Seen from space, the earth is a beautiful sight. No boundaries divide the land. The earth is home to all of us. All over the world people belong to one human family, a global community.
Our image of Peace Pals holding hands around the globe is a dream of one world, one family connected by love and friendship. As we learn to understand and accept one another, we bring peace into the world.
Working together and sharing responsibility for the earth is to be part of this global community. Together we must care for the earth and the earth will provide for us. We must learn to use the earth’s resources wisely. Walk gently on the earth, with care and respect, for it is our home.
These are some beginning ideas for you. Now it is up to you to take the message of peace forward in your own way.
May Peace Prevail on Earth!
©1999 Vol. 17 No. 4
For more information, contact Peace Pals, c/o the World Peace Prayer Society, RR1, Box 118, Benton Road, Wassaic, NY 12592. Phone 914-877-6093.•
Article by Victoria Christgau, Amy R. Farrell, Chris Farrell, and Akira Kon, excerpted from “Peace Pals Activity Guide for Children” with permission from the World Peace Prayer Society.
©2002 School of Metaphysics