Morgan Hill Life, 10/4/23 issue, Community Voices, “Students respect the significance of International Peace Day,” by Beatrice Miller, grade 12
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By Beatrice Miller, grade 12
What is peace?
I wish to begin with a word from the Dalai Lama, “If you wish to experience peace, provide peace for another.”
I’m trying to understand the process of peaceful actions as an alternative to violent conflicts. Do you wonder if peace is not something we actively choose, but rather a value we uphold? How difficult is this for the many of us who will never experience harmful conflicts, war or disaster.
I don’t consider myself to be a violent person, seeing as I don’t choose to engage in harmful or destructive situations, yet I can understand what it means to act with good intentions. Respecting others and living with calm energy, but confidently understanding that more than anything, peace is a definite solution towards any manifestation of an issue. Well, that might feel impossible.
I was asked to create a writing to share with my whole school for the International Day of Peace. Our school honors this day beautifully, inviting guest speakers, parents and our community to share this moment. At Mount Madonna we respect the significance of this date, and I look forward to it every year. It gives students the opportunity to bask in the wonderful words, songs and dance of others. Now, while I knew I was up to the challenge of preparing something for this day, I was unsure if I would be able to completely encapsulate the meaning of peace. I researched diligently, scanned through my own life and ultimately came to a conclusion. Just know that my definition of peace is an opinion, but the words I wrote ring true in my soul.
Peace revolves around human perspective and perception of our world and everything it consists of. Peace is more than a concept, or some neat way to express nature’s serenity, it is beyond an aesthetic or a catchphrase. The International Day of Peace represents an open discussion where we can figure out how to be better. How young adults, children, and all ages who exist in this ecosystem, can rise to become role models for the impending future.
I choose to see that choosing peace means learning from formidable situations, learning from all aspects of life. Reflecting and considering all options, it is a patient practice. Periodically, peace does not seem like the first approach to action. In those instances, we are often fearful and choose to move with fiery exertions. If we reflect on the negative isn’t it more likely we can find the positive. If we notice what went wrong, can’t we improve? Try again?
Peace is finding strength in yourself, by using honest, kind words. Through seeking to be empathetic – to imagine yourself in their place. It is choosing to breathe and act gracefully; we should strive to be more compassionate and more genuine people.
I think peace is acceptance. Accepting that this planet is enormous, messed up and out of our control. It is beyond comprehension how many today endure despair, war or inequitable treatment of human origin and creation. Our planet has disasters and cruel people, but it also contains the most inspiring souls. Our planet is also full of powerful leaders: Martin Luther King Jr., Gandhi, Malala Yousafzai, Albert Einstein – pacifists who shaped our world. They were scared, I’m sure they had doubts, but when they didn’t stop choosing to act with peace, they created a whole new world.
Acknowledge the reality of what peace can lead to. Notice the moment when peaceful action is crucial. Learn, from the world as your muse, what can we do to ensure our home is a safe space full of love.
Today calls all citizens to go out of their way to voice peaceful action. The United Nations calls for all of us to consider why this day needed to be created, and the significance of peace in our world. Peace is not the opposite of violence. Violence chooses to ignore peace. This day is honored to show the beauty, and the power, of peace. Acting with peace is something done every day, from within your heart.
Finally, a quote from Cesar Chavez, who emulates this day with his non-violent conduct and creation: “Non-violence is not inaction. It is not discussion. It is not for the timid or weak. It is hard work. It is the willingness to sacrifice. It is the patience to win.”