My son writes in a journal each week as part of his homework. The teacher gives the children prompts, much like the prompts used in my writing groups. This week the eight through eleven-year-olds will tackle “What is peace? What are the skills needed for peace?”
Yowsa. I’ve never addressed a topic that challenging. I’m certain the kids will come up with profound ideas and strategies from which we could all benefit.
The United States has been at war for almost the entirety of my adult life, with fighter jets deployed to the Baltics even as I write this post. On a daily basis, I must confess I don’t give our ongoing wars much thought. My family members aren’t serving in the military. I read just enough news to get informed but not depressed. Do college students still rally for peace? Do hipsters pen Dylanesqe ballads bemoaning warmaking?
Why don’t I think about being at war? Because I’m not inconvenienced. Pathetic, isn’t it.
What if our government instituted mandatory rationing during all periods of wartime? Many folks wouldn’t care if their flour ration were cut in half but what if electricity were curtailed? As long as we continue to perpetuate war, each household may only consume 250 kWh of electricity and 175 therms of natural gas per month. Cell phone use would be restricted to seventeen minutes per person per day including texting. Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest would all be outlawed during times of war – deemed frivolous, unnecessary use of electricity and brainpower and potential threats to national security.
If we were motivated enough, would we take to the streets demanding 4G Google+ Instagram peace?
What is peace and what are the skills needed for it? Perhaps we should listen to our children.
We are still a country at war. If we forget that fact, we’re lost.
What then must we do?