I have had this on my mind now for nearly two weeks. The request was to blog about peace, with a nod to my blogging friend Eva at http://47whitebuffalo.wordpress.com/.
What is peace? Is it merely a dream of the dreamer? Is that why I have so many sleepless nights?
Our city is one that struggles with gang violence, the paper doesn’t say it is gangs, but when you look at the address of the crime, and you see the names of your former students, their parents and cousins you can begin to piece together the information that is left from the pages of the black and white. Our Vice Principal puts on a Martin Luther King Peace Assembly every year and as I mull and chew on this idea of my own peace, the inspiration to bring peace to others enters my thoughts. I design a lesson in which Picasso’s Peace Dove holds center stage, design a bulletin board with quotes from Jimi Hendrix, Ghandi, Condoleeza Rice, Eleanor Roosevelt and MLK, quotes that speak of the difficulty and cost of peace but of the absolute necessity of it. The children draw doves and color them, one draws a dove that looks remarkably like a wild turkey. I tell him this and as his face falls, and trying to recover, I say, I love it! A Turkey of Peace. He looks at me uncertainly but sees the genuineness of my enthusiasm and his face slowly starts to beam. He goes back to his seat for a few moments and then comes up to me again. How do you spell turkey he asks me and we sound it out together. His picture is placed prominently on the bulletin board. I show the Vice Principal, I am not by any means a suck up person. I truly want her to see that I am supportive of the message and theme of her annual assembly, of the message of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. I too have a dream even when it keeps me from sleeping.
I am watching the news and I see the revolts that are taking place around the world and I find myself asking at what cost is peace? Must those that suffer in poverty and at the hands of corruption or even at the hands of neglect from the game of we are all chickens in the pecking order pretending to be ducks and geese. I want to jump up and act like a goon just from my day to day experiences of living in this ego driven world. And my life is relatively stable and normal and I have food and my child has access to free public education and I benefit from the slavery of other people’s children. (all brought to you by Wal-Mart dah dum dum). I ask what is peace? It is not the acceptance of the status quo. It is not terrorism nor should it ever be. I find myself appreciating how the Tunisians have done it, at least thus far, the only people who have suffered are those that gained on the backs of others. I call that Karma not revolt.
Peace is like love, it cannot be describe in a single word, a single poem, a song, or a picture. Peace is about the day to day actions of an enlightened few. Peace is ever changing and something that requires metacognition on a daily basis. And here we arrive at what keeps me up at night.
I tell a student to march his behind to time out. He is angry as he stomps off but a few minutes later he comes up to me and tells me that someone has written I hate Ms. Gregory on the desk. He then offers to scrub it off the desk. I have to hope that in some small measure my love and caring of these children, which includes discipline for unruly and aggressive behavior has had some impact. But I don’t know. It all seems like such a muddle in my sleep deprived brain. I wish I could live the dream.