Here's a little guessing game to try with your kids:
"I'm thinking of one of the most famous words in the dictionary. It's only five letters long, but it carries a lot of weight. Since the beginning of humanity the world has talked about it, written about it, sung about it, made symbols for it, prayed for it and even fought over it." Answer: Peace.
Today is this word's special day. That's right. It's the International Day of Peace, established by the United Nations in 1981. Every year since then the United Nations General Assembly has dedicated September 21st to commemorating and strengthening the ideals of peace both within and among all nations and peoples.
This year's theme is Peace in Action. And it makes sense. Pledges and proclamations are all well and good, but there are simple ways to create real peace right now in your schools and communities. The good news for kids? They have just as much power in this arena as adults. How can you and your child practice acts of peace? Let's count the ways:
1.) Don't say the word “hate” all day long, even if you're just talking about broccoli.
2.) Make a Pinwheel for Peace. All around the world, children are quite literally staking their ground in the name of peace. Go to http://www.pinwheelsforpeace.com for a printable template and directions for making a pinwheel. On one side of the paper write down your feelings about peace, tolerance, war and living in harmony. On the other side visually express your feelings with paint, pencil, or pastel. Follow the directions for folding the pinwheel, stick a straw on it and get it blowing in the wind.
3.) Thank someone who did or said something nice recently. Remember, there are many ways of saying thank you. Draw a picture, give a flower, make a treat, write a poem, give a hug... the list is infinite.
4.) Say sorry to someone who you've been less than peaceful with. Even if it's been a long time since you've talked to them.
5.) Go in your closet, gather up all the clothes you never wear anymore and donate to a nearby Goodwill or Salvation Army.
6.) Plant a tree. It's an act of kindness that benefits everyone.
7.) Visit a hospital or nursing home. Bring a newspaper or favorite book to read, a skit to perform, a poem to recite, and lots of smiles.
8.) Make a new friend. Come on, you've got the whole day.
9.) Make someone laugh. Make a funny face at your baby brother. Or tell your teacher a joke. Try this one: “Two snowmen are standing in a field. One says to the other, "Funny, I smell carrots too."
10.) Research online and learn how to say hello in 10 different languages.
Don't just talk about peace, help your child make peace with themselves and others. It's one of life's most important lessons and it's learned best by having great role models. So, parents, make an extra effort to do a little peacemaking yourself today.