Knowledge of the past holds one of the keys to world peace. Knowledge of the people in the world around us today holds another essential key. However, knowledge in and of itself is useless, much like a collection of unused paint brushes resting on the world’s shelf. It is our job to pick up the brushes and start painting. The perfect portrait of peace begins within each of us. It’s painted one brush stroke at a time. Here are some simple steps that we can all take to contribute to that portrait:
Take the time to learn about those who are different from us in some way. We may want start with someone in our own family. Even there, we often find differences in opinions, race, religion, beliefs, customs, cultures, political affiliations. The list of personal differences and the diversity of relationships goes on….
Working in the classroom as a teacher of students from diverse backgrounds, I learned first-hand that those who hold different beliefs from my own are all unique individuals with whom I have many things in common. We all share the same needs and desires, the same frustrations and fears, the same hopes and dreams. Whether students, parents, staff, volunteers, administrators or colleagues, I have gained respect for and have been deeply enriched by each encounter. Life-long relationships are nurtured and continue to blossom and grow.
Sure, that all sounds great; but what can we actually do as individuals to promote peace?
- Listen to others
- Get to know them (That means spending time with them) Let them get to know us (talk)
- Respect differences
- Look for commonalities
- Nurture relationships
- Offer and extend a helping hand
- Encourage others
- Enlist the help of others
- Give input and feedback
- Keep the conversation going
The brush strokes to peace lie within each of one us. How do we paint the canvas? One brush stroke at a time. BUILD RELATIONSHIPS—listen, share ourselves and our ideas, respect those of others, look for commonalities. Our individual and collective lives will continue to be enriched as we work together to paint a perfect portrait of world peace. We really do have the power to make it happen, one brush stroke at a time.
Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.
~ Bette A. Stevens, Maine author