September 21st is International Day Of Peace and this years theme is “Shaping Peace Together”. I think that’s the best theme of all. World Peace is not a solo-endeavour. To even have a chance at achieving it we all have to be willing to think globally when making decisions. We need to think of people. We need to consider animals, plants, water. If we won’t allow the planet itself to be at peace how can we expect to find it for ourselves. The truth is we are all interconnected and when we ignore that and think only of ourselves peace becomes impossible. We need to take meaningful steps to heal the Earth and each other. How do we shape peace together?
Those of us raising smallish humans have an added responsibility. Parenting isn’t just cuddling babies but raising functional adults and if you want to ensure those adults go into this world with the intention of making it better they need to be raised with a sense of ownership….or maybe a recognition that we (humans) own nothing. We are part of a wheel, only here for a spell, and that’s okay. Maybe, the best mark to leaven this world is the kind no one can see, but can be felt for generations to come.
On that note, there are lots of activities you can do with your kids on Peace Day to start planting the seeds of peace while they’re young. Here’s my Top 5!
Top 5: International Day Of Peace Activities
In 1955, seventh grader, Sadako Sasaki fell ill. As she lay in hospital her best friend, Chizuko (armed with a stack of origami paper) told her of a legend. If a sick person were to fold a thousand paper cranes, a tribute to the majestic birds of Japan who can live up to 100 years, they would begin to heal. Unfortunately, Sadako, like many other children who initially survived the A-Bomb in Hiroshima (she was 2 at the time), she passed away from Leukemia (then referred to as A-Bomb disease) after a few months in the hospital. She spent her last months folding paper cranes and handing them out to hospital staff and friends. After her passing her school friends formed a unity club in her honour. The club spread though schools, eventually going international spurring the Paper Crane a sign of peace around the world.
You can plenty of tutorials online for folding your now paper cranes. Write your hopes and wishes for a more peaceful world on their wings and hang them in your home or give them out to friends and family. You can even sign up at The Peace Crane Project to send your crane to another child in the world, like a penpal!
Peace Sign Sun Catchers
Y’all know I love a good craft! You can adapt any sun catcher craft instructions you find to suit your needs. Just cut out peace signs (2 matching for the front and back) and make a tissue paper collage to fill the spaces. I’ve seen it done with coffee filters and watercolours too. (Pinterest has loads of good ideas!)
Trash Clean Up
Volunteering to clean up nature is a wonderful way to add some peace to the world. Throw on some cloves and hit your local park, or walk around your neighbourhood. Summer is at an end, it certainly doesn’t hurt to get out there and do a clean up before the snow start falling in a couple months.
Get Out In Nature
Connecting with nature is one of the best ways to foster inner peace. Walking through the woods, or sitting by the ocean has such a calming affect. Everyone can benefit from some fresh air and the smell of wine trees! Generally you don’t need a million dollars to take advantage of some green space near you. Look up your local walking trails. Most places have some that are accessible as well. If anything, take a walk around the block. Sometimes that’s all it takes to reconnect with the world and feel more at peace.
Explore Cultures Around The World
This is the prefect time to learn about other cultures and celebrate them. Representation matters and not just to the person/group being represented. If we want our children to be good global citizens it’s important that they value the differences between us. No one wants to be “tolerated”. That’s not the goal. The goal is acceptance, love, and respect. Imagine how much peace could be had if people just loved on each other instead of picking each other apart. There’s loads of great resources out there, from books, to documentaries, docuseries, YouTube videos, blogs, and so on. Spin your globe or flip through your atlas with your eyes closed. Pick a place and start researching! Listen to their music, sketch a picture of their traditional clothing, maybe you even have the ingredients in your kitchen to whip up a special dessert. Listen to that they have to say about they culture and who they are.
Sometimes all we can do to help global peace efforts is to elevate the vibe. Take a few moments to centre yourself. Help someone in need even if it’s the tiniest thing like holding the door or helping a parent get their stroller off the bus. It can be as small as remembering to bring your reusable water bottle to work with you, or packing your own zero-waste lunch. It could be grabbing the neighbours garbage bin when the wind is blowing down the street after pick-up, or sending a link to a friend of a song you both love. Shaping peace together is about planting seeds. We need to get those sprouts going. We need to build them up. Foster their growth. Encourage their branches to stretch out over all of us.