Talking to Children About Peace
Children learn what they live. In my experience giving Peace talks to children in Mexico junior high, and Costa Rica elementary to high school, I have these suggestions:
1. Invite children to be involved from the beginning — find an interesting question for them, according to their age level, to bring alive their curiosity and enthusiasm. It can be as simple as…What do you think PEACE is?
2. Use plenty of examples from the PEACE PILGRIM book.
3. Kids love to ‘touch’ so if you have a PEACE PILGRIM tunic—let them experience it!
4. Show pictures and whatever you may have so children obtain a visual image of PEACE PILGRIM — which later on will become a symbol of peace for them. Sing a song from the PEACE PROGRAM CD.
5. In some occasions, groups of kids greeted me with pretty hand-made posters in which they selected their favorite phrase from the PEACE PILGRIM materials and pasted along a photo of her. The posters were going to be a present for their parents.
6. Make copies of PEACE PILGRIM book and select good PEACE PILGRIM sentences. Cut them in individual pieces and put them in a basket. Let each child ‘select’ a piece of paper from the basket, read it to the group, and share how that sentence relates to him/her. I have found this to be a powerful exercise to raise consciousness. In many cases they read exactly what they need to know to solve a personal situation. Many children have been deeply affected by this exercise. They love it!
7. Let them consider how can they apply what they’ve experienced in the session in their own life. Ask them to share it with the whole group as they feel comfortable doing so.
8. Invite the children to make as many questions as they wish. I have had sessions in which more than twenty hands wanted to have their turn to talk at the same time.