War & Peace

Caren Stelson and I focused on war and peace in our May Peace-ology article. Read the full article HERE. Caren wrote a book that was a beautiful tribute to a Nagasaki bomb survivor named Sachiko. She has adapted it into a stunning and heartbreaking picture book called A Bowl Full of Peace. I recommend both books with all my heart.

An excerpt from our latest article:

On August 9, 1945, at 11:02, six-year-old Sachiko was playing outside with her friends, making mud dumplings, when the second atomic bomb of World War II exploded over her city of Nagasaki. Sachiko and her friends were 900 meters from ground zero, less than a half mile away. Sachiko’s survival was miraculous and so is her story of recovery, resilience, hope, and peace. I spent six years interviewing Sachiko in Nagasaki, Japan, and researching the history of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki for a book for young people. Sachiko: A Nagasaki Bomb Survivor’s Story was published in 2016 by Carolrhoda/Lerner Publishing GroupI intended to write Sachiko’s story to change young readers’ lives — to understand the horrors of war and the deep need for peace. What I didn’t anticipate is how much Sachiko would change my life. The last words Sachiko offered for our book were these:

What is peace?

What kind of person should I be?

Keep pursuing answers to these questions.

What if children spent twelve years of their school lives learning about peace in the same way they learn to read and become literate? What if schools and communities invested in a developmental, skill-based curriculum that guided children, teachers, and parents in a life-long study of peaceful living? What would our society look like then? Peace Literacy Director Paul Chappell asks those questions and suggests:

“Our understanding of peace is only as good as our understanding of the human condition and trauma. To gain a deep and practical understanding of extremism, trauma, and the nature of human happiness, and to solve our national and global problems in the twenty-first century and beyond, we need a realistic and pragmatic model of the human condition … Peace Literacy is based on research about basic human needs such as self-worth and belonging, and how trauma gets entangled with these needs.”

For greater insight into Peace Literacy, its philosophy and curriculum, go to www.peaceliteracy.org .

We are writing this post as the entire world faces the COVID 19 Pandemic. Terrible and challenging as this time is for everyone, it may be just the right time to start a practice of peace, even while social distancing. Where to start?

With ourselves: Find some quiet time to be with yourself. Breathe deeply. Ask yourself: What are you grateful for? Who are the people you love? What is one thing you are glad you did, yesterday or today? What can you do tomorrow that will make you proud of yourself?

With one another: Who can you reach out to by phone, email, social media, postal service, or sidewalk chalk drawing and send a message of friendship?

In community: What can you do as a service to others to help ease the loneliness of being separated, or help with a cause to ease the suffering of this pandemic time?