Peace in the eyes of a child-A A +A
Friday, August 3, 2012
I HAVE always told myself that one of the best forms of expressing yourself is through writing. I cannot imagine how my life would be like without it.
And so, even in my busiest schedule (like what I’m feeling now), I always reserve an hour or two just to keep me sane from my work. Of course, with a cup (or sometimes cups) of coffee and my Gardenia raisin bread.
The famous political and spiritual leader Mahatma Gandhi once said that “If we are to teach real peace in this world, and if we are to carry on a real war against war, we shall have to begin with the children.”
Let me share to you one of the best Saturdays that I ever had. It was just an ordinary day and I decided to go school to pick up some books that I borrowed from the library.
That was last October and I was still teaching in a state university here in Cagayan de Oro.
My daughter, Thea, decided to go with me for the simple reason that she knows I’ll be giving her the usual treat. The “usual treat” will always be Jollibee Chicken Joy meal plus her favorite French fries.
We were about to go out from the school premises when she dragged me near the gymnasium. I simply explained to her that we cannot drop by anymore since it’s nearing lunch time. But her persistence convinced me to go along with her anyway.
“Mommy, please gusto lagi ko moapil,” she begged. As I went through the halls, I later found out that there was an art activity going on. It was an art contest dubbed “Art for Peace.”
The activity was sponsored by the university’s Supreme Student Council which featured speakers from the academe within the region, talking about issues on peace and conflict resolution.
The “mother’s instinct” in me gave me an interpretation that my daughter was really interested because in less than five minutes, she went to the registration area and begged me (again) to let her join.
At first, I was hesitant since the contestants were all college students.
Fortunately, the organizers were just too kind as they allowed my daughter to join the activity. As they said, “We are also interested how kids interpret peace, Maam. So, no worries.”
The next 30 minutes was full of surprises when my Thea (together with the rest of the college students) began sketching images that I never thought a three-year-old kid can do.
Joining activities like this one did not surprise me though since she is used to volunteering herself and maybe because she was just too confident.
At her young age, what surprised me most was the way she understood peace.
As she was called up to explain what her picture was all about, she confidently stood up and showed her “masterpiece.”
“This is my mommy, daddy and Zachy. We are all watching TV. We have a dog outside the house. There is a rainbow because daddy and mommy are not fighting. That is why we have peace at home.”
I was the proudest mom during that time and forever I will be. I later realized how important it is to be a good role model at home. Children will always be perceptive and curious to what they see or hear around them. This is very important to note since all of these greatly affect the psychological and emotional aspects of the child. No wonder there are children out there who grew up to be delinquent or deviant because their family upbringing is weak or unstable. And with this chaotic world that we are living in, I would never wonder why until now, peace is not yet attained.
Given the many programs and interventions that our government has provided to address issues on peace or armed conflict, it seems that this problem is never ending.
Perhaps, we can take a quick look and reflect the sweet innocence of being a child as we continue to search the true meaning of peace.
As Bernard Crick once said, “We have to say very firmly that children learn responsibility best and gain a sense or moral values by discussing, with good guidance from the earliest age, real and controversial issues.”
Before I forget, my Thea bagged the Best Artwork Award not because of her art skills but probably because her idea on peace was the freshest and the purest. It was one ordinary day turned extraordinary. (Divorrah Estrada-Meneses)
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on August 03, 2012.