At this time of year people think about peace. They send holiday cards with peace written on them in attractive lettering and seasonal colors or which have idyllic scenes of snowy nights and animals in the woods or which have gleeful snowman or motorcycle riding Santas. And yet there is no peace on earth.
Joshua Goldstein, author of Winning the War on War, provides a list of ongoing armed conflicts on his website. What will it take to have world peace? Lao Tse said the following:
If there is to be peace in the world, there must be peace between countries. If there is to be peace in the country, there must be peace in the cities.If there is to be peace in the country, there must be peace in the cities. If there is to be peace in the cities, there must be peace in the neighborhoods. If there is to be peace in the neighborhood, there must be peace in the schools. If there is to be peace in the schools, there must be peace in the home. If there is to be peace in the home, there must be peace in the family. If there is to be peace in the family, there must be peace in our hearts.
So let's start with our children's hearts. Let's teach them that people everywhere want peace. Here are some beautiful books to share with your children during this Season of Peace.
Peace by Wendy Halperin
Artist Halperin has built on Lao Tse's words by illustrating in detailed watercolors all the myriad ways we can build a more peaceful world using quotes by the great peacemakers of all times. There are 13 page spreads. If you purchase this book now, you could share and discuss one page spread a day with your family or class up to Christmas or New Year's. Follow up this book by looking up some of the peacemakers who are quoted in this book. Paths to Peace: People Who Changed the World has short biographical sketches of peacemakers and the childhood incident that set them on their course in life.
The Children's Peace Book by Jolene De Lisa
This book is illustrated with pictures of peace drawn by children from around the world, and things they have to say about peace interspersed with quotes from famous people. For example, Lia, age 8 of China offers this list of "What Peace Means".
Anie, age 6, of Israel says "Shalom. In peace, people will only die of old age." Follow up reading this book by making drawings and writing down your ideas of what is peace.
One World, One Day by Barbara Kerley
Kerley has written several award-winning books for the National Geographic illustrated with photographs from the magazine, including A Little Peace. This book shows children all over the world getting up, going to school, working at home, playing, spending time with their families. It illustrates what we all share with each other. Follow up reading this poem by finding a digital pen pal in another country.
Amazing Peace: A Christmas Poem by Maya Angelou
"Hope spreads around the earth, brightening all things, Even hate which crouches breeding in dark corners." Although labeled a Christmas poem, this work by Maya Angelou written for the 2005 Christmas tree lighting ceremony is actually a celebration of all beliefs and the importance of hope for a better world. Follow up reading this book by researching the different faiths mentioned in this poem and their messages of peace. Read The Golden Rule which illustrates how this same rule is found in all the major religions.
What do you think peace means?