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Peace Journal

There is no time left for anything but to make peacework a dimension of our every waking activity.— Elise Boulding

Lesson: Peace Journals

Objective: To become aware of the role each one of us plays in creating a peaceful world and to record one's thoughts about it.

Peace journals can be kept by everyone. This is a perfect activity for classes, families, and groups of all kinds

Preparation:

  • Make a print out of this handout or make a poster of it to display.
  • Have ready a special bell or chime that has a peaceful sound.
  • Have notebooks or materials for making small books ready. Encourage creativity by providing colored pencils for designing and illustrating.

Introduction

Explain who Lao-tse was and then share his words about peace.

Procedure

1. Provide everyone with small notebooks to serve as peace journals. These can be purchased. But it is better to have them handmade by the participants themselves using lined paper in an age appropriate size (blank paper can be used for very young children or if drawing will be encouraged at any age) for the pages and construction paper or tag for the covers. These can be bound using yarn, ribbon, paper fasteners, or loose leaf rings. Have participants write Peace Journal and their name on the cover. Optional: Decorate the cover with a picture reflecting how you feel about peace. (Note: Teachers and parents should prepare their own journals at the same time as well.)

2. Have participants close their eyes and picture themselves in a peaceful place where they feel safe and happy. What does it look like? Are there people there? What are they doing? How are they treating each other? How are they feeling? Now take a minute to imagine yourself in that place. I will ring a special bell (or chime) when the minute is done. Allow a minute of silence

3. Ring the bell. Say: The purpose of a journal is to have a place where you can record your inner most thoughts and feelings. On the first page write the heading: My Peaceful Place, then draw a picture of or write about the peaceful place you just imagined. Whenever you feel angry or upset or there is trouble around you, remember you can always return to this place inside yourself to find inner peace.

4. Ask the group if anyone would like to share their entries. Assure them that they do not have to if they don't wish to. Their journal is a private place for their personal thoughts, and only they can decide if they want them to be shared. Remind participants that everyone has different ideas and thoughts. It would be hurtful to make negative comments. Say: Peace begins inside our hearts. Accepting what other people have inside their hearts is an important part of creating a peaceful world.

5. Set aside a time from 5 to 10 minutes in length at the end of the day for participants to write in their journals. It makes a quiet peaceful ending to the day. But if every day is not possible, try for once or twice a week. During peace journal time, try to play a piece of music that is very calming like St. Saens The Swan or a work by Enya. Start and end journal time using the special bell.

Peace Journal

Using the Peace Journal

Here are some journal starters. They can also be used as discussion starters for Peace Circles. Choose the ones most appropriate to your group.

  • Describe something you observed today at school/in our classroom/in our family/in our group/in our community that helped make our world a more peaceful place.
  • Describe someone you know who you feel is a peacemaker. Explain why you chose this person. (Use the book Pathways to Peace as an inspiration)
  • Share a peaceful thought you had today.
  • Share something you did to make it more peaceful in your classroom, school, home, neighborhood,community, etc.
  • Write an idea you have that would make the world more peaceful.
  • What could you say to someone who disagreed with you so that you could have a peaceful relationship?
  • Think about an event that involved violence (could be in the classroom, school, neighborhood, from the news, etc.). 1. Could a peaceful solution have been used to prevent it? 2. What can be done in the future to prevent this violence from happening again?
  • Make a list of words/places/people/events that make you think of peace.
  • Write a poem about peace.
  • Why do people fight? Why is it hard to be peaceful?
  • What is one thing you could do at home to make it a more peaceful place?
  • After each entry, have students label it based on Lao-Tse's words: Peace in the nation. Peace in the city (or town). Peace in the neighborhood. Peace in the home. Peace in my heart.
  • Have optional sharing times when students read from their journals.
  • If desired, encourage people to illustrate their thoughts using graphic symbols, designs, and pictures. They can draw these or cut out and paste in pictures and photos.

Related reading:What does peace feel like

Paths to Peace by Jane Zalben

One World. One Day by Barbara Kerley

What Does Peace Feel Like? by V. Randunsky

The Children's Peace Book by Jolene De Lisa


Do you keep a journal?

We welcome your thoughts and comments.

Teach Peace Now
Teach Peace Now
We offer books, activities, lesson plans, and ideas that teachers, parents, and students can use to promote values, attitudes and behaviors which encourage non-violent resolution of conflict, respect for human rights, democracy, intercultural understanding and tolerance.

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