Friday, July 2, 2010

Founder's Blues: What's my story?

I do not understand why such a fine idea as our Education for Peace Initiative is so hard to talk about. I have spent a lot of time (as I usually do) wondering about what we (I) say and do not say that is so uninspiring.

I got to thinking about the campaign against gender violence for which it is possible to at least raise individual donations. People are not moved as much by what we say as by the memories of a person or an incident that it evokes. I think. It is certifiably a good cause.

So is peace education. And lord knows, it should take no marketing outside of the news headlines. Why would 14 year olds elect to fight in violent insurgencies? Why would high school kids pick up the gun on small playground disputes? And short of the gun, think of the many verbal hostilities children learn by the time they leave school. We should all be seriously upset by this. But we are not.

It is hard to narrate these things as a story, I think. Yes, it's true these things happen, but I don't know if I can narrate the teenaged suicide bomber's life as a familiar anecdote. And if I say, children are carrying guns, is that a child that lives in my building?

I could come at it from the experience of the two people whose brainchild this has been, but we are the very fortunate. We come at peace education from a sense that we who have been so lucky as to have grown up around farsighted educationists and very liberal parents need to share this privilege. We share two convictions: 1. We can make a difference through our efforts and 2. The way to do that is by teaching children peaceful ways of relating to each other and living with differences. 

We could come up with a variety of personal anecdotes about the peace-teaching people and experiences we have had, and we have to some extent in our occasional blog: But it's not the same as Abc, aged 8, beat her little sister, aged 4, to pulp because there was cream in her milk.

So now I am going to embark on a search for the story. And test some of them here, bewarned.

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