The Race To Peace Begins
by Naomi Drew, M.A.
author of Hope and Healing
Committed individuals working toward a common goal do have the power to re-shape the world. This has happened over and over again throughout history - the abolition of slavery, womens suffrage, the dismantling of Apartheid, the fall of the Berlin Wall, the civil rights movement -- all of these massive changes came from people, not governments, and now is the time for the biggest change ever: moving beyond war toward a culture of peace.
For this reason we must embark on a new race -- one far more important than the race to space, and far more impactful than anything our species has ever before accomplished -- the Race to Peace.
And why does this have to be a race? Because time is running out. According to the United Nations, 36 wars are being waged in our world as I write these words. The weapons of mass destruction are just a hair-trigger away from being used. In our schools and neighborhoods children are killing each other -- remember this statistic from Children's Defense Fund, Every Day in America 10 children and youth under 20 die from firearms, the highest number in the industrialized world. And as you read these words, new wars are being planned, and the production of nuclear weapons increasing.
But we have the ability to turn this tide. Read on to find out how.
Feeding the Vision
There is a story that goes like this: A Native American grandfather was talking to his grandson. He said, "I feel as if I have two wolves fighting in my heart. One wolf is the vengeful, angry, violent one. The other wolf is the loving, compassionate one." The grandson asked him "Which wolf will win the fight in your heart?" And the grandfather answered, "The one I feed."
In the past hundred years we have been feeding the wolf of war. The wolf of peace has gone hungry, and now is our time to feed it. The place to begin is with our will.
Consider the possibility that with the combined power of parents all over the world we could accomplish this . . . .
That people will look back and say, In the year 2002, families everywhere, no longer willing to accept the violence their children were growing up with, decided theyd had enough.
One by one, mothers, fathers, grandparents, and children of all ages and colors made a huge decision -- they started working to create peace . The idea started to catch. Friends told friends, cousins told cousins, e-mails started flying from one coast to the other, across oceans, and beyond all conceivable boundaries. Suddenly people all over the world caught the bug. And the Race to Peace began. United in a common theme, individuals and organizations started chipping away the roots of war - poverty, homelessness, and hunger. They joined voices and called for an end to nuclear weapons and the availability of street weapons.
Before long their efforts took on the momentum of a tidal wave. Voices of nay-sayers were drowned out by its strength, and politicians started listening - afterall, they wanted to get re-elected. In time, new laws were passed and treaties signed. A change in peoples consciousness began to take shape -- they started seeing war as unthinkable and barbaric as cannibalism. And they realized it was in the power of their collective power to stop wars from continuing .
Ultimately they created the most massive social change in human history -- the beginning of peace. We began empowering our United Nations to intervene in global conflicts, a halt was put to the development of nuclear weapons, and every person who served in governments around the world was taught the skills of negotiation and mediation. Over time democratic schools were set up throughout the world, and the skills of peacemaking were taught to children everywhere, thereby grooming a generation schooled in the tools and methods of peace. Crimes of international significance were dealt with in the World Court, and nations started sharing resources. A collaborative world order began to take shape, and we were a part of its initial inception.
What is the Race to Peace?
Its a common theme, the purpose of which is to unite organizations and people all over the world committed to making this vision a reality. Its also a way of connecting to each other through the internet. You might be working on root causes of violence like poverty, hunger, homelessness, and intolerance, or more direct issues like gun control, nuclear arms reduction, or conflict resolution. In any event, the Race to Peace website will help you find each other, communicate, collaborate, and empower each other.
What we need more than ever is a sense of cohesion. Many wonderful groups are already doing important work in creating peace nationally, locally or globally, but everyone is working separately. The Race to Peace can potentially be the glue that pulls us all together resulting in a social epidemic where massive numbers of people take action to make peace happen.
This type of phenomenon is elegantly described in Malcom Gladwells book, The Tipping Point, where he shows how trends can actually spread like viruses. He examines social phenomenon from Sesame Street to New York Citys precipitous drop in crime, and shows how, when ideas catch among enough people, they can reach a tipping point where they spill over into the mass consciousness. Thats when trends become significant social forces.
The most powerful force is word of mouth. By communicating, networking, and reaching out, you have the potential to make the Race to Peace a trend that spreads like a healthy virus, catching the attention of others, and igniting like fire.
Naomi Drew is recognized around the world as an expert on conflict resolution and peacemaking in schools and homes. Hailed as visionary, her work has enabled educators, parents, and people of all ages to live together more cooperatively.
Her work has been recognized by educational leaders throughout the country. People of all ages have attested to durable changes in their relationships after applying the principles Drew outlines. Her work has been featured in magazines, newspapers, radio, and TV and she currently serves as a parenting expert for Classroom Close-ups, a public television show.
She is the author of four books, serves as a consultant to school districts, leads seminars, and runs parenting courses. Her latest book is Hope and Healing: Peaceful Parenting in an Uncertain World. Visit www.learningpeace.com for more information on Naomi Drew and her work.
Copyright © 2002 by Naomi Drew. All rights reserved. Site Map