There is no time left for anything but to make peacework a dimension of our every waking activity.— Elise Boulding
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
Explain who Lao-tse was and then share his words about peace.
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.
Here are some journal starters. They can also be used as discussion starters for Peace Circles. Choose the ones most appropriate to your group.
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