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God made up the word ~

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God made up the word ~

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I was only 10 years old when my big brother enlisted in the Marines. My memories from back then are not about him being placed in harm’s reach to fight a war in Viet Nam. I was excited that he trusted me to take care of his prized possession while he was gone. Always in the past his stuffed animal had been a keep-your-hands-off gift from an old girlfriend. His adorable yellow dog was big enough for me to sit on. Now, I understand better why his feelings were hurt when I could hardly wait for him to leave. Perhaps I had been sheltered from reality, but I never watched the news. I didn’t see news clips of bombs exploding and soldiers being shot at and innocent people dying. Through a child’s eyes, “Can they fully grasp what it means to fight for peace in a foreign country?” I didn’t know at the time that my brother might not ever come back. 

A number of years ago, I asked my brother, “How come we didn’t talk about Martin Luther King’s impressive achievements in our home?” I would have been in the 7th grade when he was assassinated.

His disturbing answer left me speechless. The gist was that my parents had made allegations in the past about his moral character and they were not color-blind. At that moment, I felt ignorant and ashamed that African American history had little significance in my life. It was as if I had been kept from any information or experience that might contradict my parents’ view of the world. How could I have learned love and respect for all individuals without knowledge of racial segregation, bussing, and Martin Luther King’s dream for peace?

From my limited experiences as a young person, I’ve learned how important it is to have open discussions in our families about what is going on in the world around us. I thought it would be interesting to see how kids today would define the word “peace.” With the technology advancements, let’s face it; they are saturated with vivid images of tragic news stories that just won’t go away.

One of my passions is helping children see they have voices that truly matter. My good friend asked his second grade class to write down, “What peace means to me…?” Their answers were fun and very enlightening. Here are some of them to ponder:

    1. Peace means like Peace on Earth. Respectful people.
    2. Peace is another way to say Hi.
    3. Peace means love, like, and other nice things. LOVE!
    4. Peace means like peace and quiet.
    5. I want some peace nobody bother me. Peace means I want peace. Martin Luther King Jr. wants some peace.
    6. It means peace you sign with your hands. It means peace out and Martin Luther King Jr. made that word and God made that word up to and his mom made up the word to.
    7. Martin Luther King Jr. wanted peace not violence. He also wanted love and for everyone to be equal.
    8. Peace means being calm and having freedom.
    9. Peace out Dude.

I am positive-children can help make a difference in finding peace in this world as I am reminded in the verses from the popular Whitney’s Houston’s Song, “Greatest Love of All.”

I believe the children are our future
Teach them well and let them lead the way
Show them all the beauty they possess inside
Give them a sense of pride to make it easier
Let the children’s laughter remind us how we used to be.

I am excited to be a part of the Blog Carnival “Haiti” Challenge this week. I will donate $1.00 for every comment left for my “Peace” article to go towards Samaritan’s Purse. http://www.samaritanspurse.org/. Please go to Bridget Chumbley’s site to read other blog entries and/or to join http://www.bridgetchumbley.com/2010/01/peace-blog-carnival/. Thanks for stopping by!

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35 Comments
  • Val says:

    Nice story. Children are often the forgotten ones when the world is so full of turmoil. But let’s not forget about the adults too, and “Let the children’s laughter remind us how we used to be.”

  • Bridget says:

    Great post, JoAnne. I love hearing what kids thoughts are… they are usually beautiful… and often… entertaining! 🙂

  • Kali says:

    What a special person you are to me & the rest of the world. I adoore you. :~)

  • Glynn says:

    This is like reading my own history. I was 13 when my older brothwer joined the Marine Corps Reserve — and would stay out of harm’s way during the Vietnam War. I was in high school when Martin Luther King was assassinated, and I remember friends being upset because a dance was cancelled when the city was put under curfew. Our families sound similar. Thanks for the post — lots of memories came flooding back.

  • Ann Wilmer says:

    I’m glad you reminded your readers how important it is for parents to discuss the news with their children. The news is very often frightening to the young but they are going to hear it — media is everywhere.

  • JC says:

    Aren’t humans amazing? They kill wildlife – birds, deer, all kinds of cats, coyotes, beavers, groundhogs, mice and foxes by the million in order to protect their domestic animals and their feed.

    Then they kill domestic animals by the billion and eat them. This in turn kills people by the million, because eating all those animals leads to degenerative – and fatal – – health conditions like heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, and cancer.

    So then humans spend billions of dollars torturing and killing millions of more animals to look for cures for these diseases.

    Elsewhere, millions of other human beings are being killed by hunger and malnutrition because food they could eat is being used to fatten domestic animals.

    Meanwhile, few people recognize the absurdity of humans, who kill so easily and violently, and then call for “Peace on Earth.”

    ~Revised Preface to Old MacDonald’s Factory Farm by C. David Coates~

    Check out this informative and inspiring video on why people choose vegan: http://veganvideo.org/

    Also see Gary Yourofsky: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bagt5L9wXGo

  • Maureen says:

    Joanne, thank you for reflecting back to us how important our children in the equation of peace. When we teach well, we create hope for their future.

    Thanks again for participating in the challenge.

  • Diane says:

    Wow JoAnne, your stories are always so wonderful and so inspiring. The children ARE our future as you said and and this is why I am so glad that you work with children. You are such a good role model and teacher for our children!

  • JoAnn! You are so awesome. Thank you for sharing your story. And I love that you’re fundraising for Haiti! 🙂

  • Sarah Salter says:

    JoAnn, I was 13 when my cousin Rick was deployed in Operation Desert Storm, compliments of the US Army. I was scared and didn’t really understand why, so I can identify with how you felt when your brother left for war. All I can say is that thank the Lord that in the midst of a world that peace doesn’t exist, we serve the Prince of Peace!

  • Kevin M. says:

    Great post!

    I am glad to be participating with you and others in helping raise money for Haiti!

  • jasonS says:

    Great post & glad to help raise some support for Haiti too… 🙂

  • Thank you for sharing your wonderful post, JoAnne, and joining in the blog challenge to help Haiti! Children certainly are our future, and it’s good to pay attention to them and learn from them as we also try to teach them.

  • Val says:

    Thank you so much for your beautiful post. This should inspire all who read to remember that God has a plan for all of us and it starts the moment we are created. You are special my friend…

  • Audra Krell says:

    Hi JoAnne,
    This transported me to another place and time, I enjoyed this tremendously tonight. Thank you for helping Haiti. Earlier today I heard about this blog carnival that you are participating in, so when I saw you had a done a post on Peace, I knew I had to help!

  • Louise says:

    Thank you for this beautiful story — and for the words of the children. Very powerful and inspiring.

    and thanks for also being part of the challenge. maureen is amazing!

  • Tracy says:

    Nice post mom! I loved hearing what 2nd graders thought.

  • Terri says:

    Great story JoAnne, the comments from the second graders were great and I love that song. Thanks for reminding me of it, I’m going to add it to my IPod!

  • My father, being raised in the deep south, was much like your parents. Fortunately my mother was more open-minded. I tried to follow her example of allowing my children to view, inspect and express opposing views to my own as they were growing up. One of the joys of parenthood is watching your children grow beyond your input.

  • Karin M says:

    JoAnne,
    This is a nice reminder that not everyone truly does understand the word Peace. I think alot of people take it for granted and then there are the younger children who have their own meaning for it. Thank you for putting this huge word back into our days.

  • Katie says:

    Thanks for a lovely post, JoAnne, and for sharing those charming and insightful comments from the second graders. I like the idea of peace being another way to say hi!

  • Frank says:

    A fantastic article by a fantastic lady! Teach children that the warm feeling they get inside their hearts is peace and by sharing it they will make everyone else feel the same! Namaste dear friend!

  • Jannette says:

    Great post Joanne!! I love reading the children’s definition of peace, makes one stop and think a little bit. We have a lot we can teach our children but they have plenty to teach us if we would be willing to listen….Dave and I are very fortunate to have found such a fantastic and loving daycare provider for our kids!!

  • Whitney says:

    Wow what a great post! I really enjoyed it and seeing what the kids had to say their definition was of peace was. It really is amazing to see how their minds work. thank you for sharing this with all of us.

  • Allison Zigmond says:

    I asked my my 3 year old daughter Noelle what the word Peace meant. She said “Please. It means you say please.”

  • David says:

    I love your unique approaches to the topics you write about. They never fail to delight and inspire! Children are capable of truly amazing things if given the opportunity to explore and express themselves.

  • Joan says:

    Another good post. You are getting sooooo good at writing your thoughts. It’s been fun seeing you bloom as a wonderful writer. It’s been a blessing being a part of it. Much love

  • I agree with the sentiments shared in the other posts, and that is: Kids see things in a more straightforward way; they don’t get all wrapped up in side-issues that adults get wrapped up in, and it’s refreshing. They speak “from the heart!”

    I love the answers given by the children in that second grade class; they were great!

    Love, and I applaud you for seeking to raise money for the citizens of Haiti!

  • Tara says:

    I loved reading the responses the children had.Sometimes I thibk it’s a good way to step back and get a better grasped of how the world is being effected when you ask children simple questions since they were usually not biased. This is a great fundraiser for Haiti 🙂

  • blogomomma says:

    Another great post for conversation J!

    I remember as a child being VERY interested in current events. Most children that age would be hard pressed to entertain comics much less headlines. I also remember the stress and worry it caused. Addressing current events with children is a delicate operation. It’s a tightrope of personal convictions, sheltering and knowledge. They need to feel secure and protected as well as informed. It’s relative and needs to be age appropriate.

    If I live to be 2 hundred years old – I will NEVER understand 9-11, Katrina, Haiti, or the loss of MLK – it’s a trick bag explaining tragedy to children. Too much, too little …I don’t know. I’m just glad we have a forum to share!

  • Brittany says:

    Wonderful post! I love hearing what children have to say about such deep words like “peace”. Sometimes the things they say make so much more sense than when us adults try to describe things.

    I think it’s awesome that you’re raising money for Haiti! Great cause 🙂

  • Children are the reason why I have peace. They keep me grounded and remind me often how God loves us all so much. God doesnt have grandchildren. He only haves sons and daughters. And he desires peace for all of us. Not a piece of peace but “whole” peace. Thanks for sharing your heart!

  • Roz says:

    Nice work JoAnne! Good for you, thanks for doing this for Haiti!

  • Michelle says:

    Loved this story JoAnne. Hurray to you for an awesome story and for a good cause:)

  • Tracy says:

    JoAnne,

    Wow! This was a truly wonderful written piece. Thank you so much for sharing.

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  1. Oh, I am so sad for those girls. To have lost you once because of their mother’s decision, and then to have lost you again because of their own short-sightedness. They really missed out. I’m sorry you did, too 🙁
  2. So sad, what a terrible experience. and I know it was only one of many for you. Love you friend!!!
  3. This fills me with sadness: “No child should have to continually try to make a parent love them.” What a tragedy that your mother was not able to accept love from you. My guess is that deep down, she didn’t feel lovable, and she had to cover that shameful fact up with a bunch of br…
  4. It’s insane that these findings were made but nothing was done about it. All these years later, you are still waiting for the wrongs to be righted.
  5. I love you❤