"War is unhealthy for children and other living things."
Shortly after the Civil War, activist, Julia Ward Howe wrote a Mother’s Proclamation. It began with these words:
We will not have great questions decided by
irrelevant agencies. Our husbands shall not come to us, reeking
with carnage, for caresses and applause. Our sons shall not be
taken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach
them of charity, mercy and patience.
Her intentions for a Mothers for Peace Day changed over the years, until finally in the early 20th century, the date was co-opted by the floral industry. From there it ballooned into a billion dollar industry.
One thing is still certain, no matter where you go, what color or nationality you are, mothers everywhere want the same thing for their children: food to eat, safe shelter and love. Now, it’s time for mothers to take back the day! Imagine what would happen if all the mothers in America asked their children to join them in declaring a Mothers for Peace Day.
This mother’s day, you can start in your own neighborhoods and homes by holding a Mothers for Peace Day.
These are some of the things you can do:
1. Organize a family or neighborhood potluck to talk about peace. Ask the children what peace means to them? Talk about the roles of compassion, kindness, forgiveness and beauty in creating peace. Ask them what it means to do no harm.
2. Tell them Sadako’s story, a Japanese girl who developed "bomb sickness" shortly after Hiroshima. Informed by a friend ‘if you fold a 1000 paper cranes you will be granted a wish,' and wishing to be well, Sadako began making cranes. She died before she could finish. Her classmates made the rest and they helped raise money for a peace memorial built in her honor.
Make your own origami cranes for peace. (watch this easy YouTube video for making a crane with recycled paper www.youtube.com/watch?v=EnBhAhqU_PY ) String them in neighborhood windows or in your family’s home.
3. Jill McManigal, co-founder of Kids for Peace (www.kidsforpeaceusa.org) was inspired by her daughter, Hana, to start this group which grew to 17 chapters across the U.S. They have a Facebook page (Kids for Peace) with all kinds of interesting links for ways to get involved. There are other programs on their website.
4. Write out the Kids for Peace Pledge. Have them share it at school.
• I pledge to use my words to speak in a kind way.
• I pledge to help others as I go throughout my day.
• I pledge to care for our earth with my healing heart and hands.
• I pledge to respect people in each and every land
• I pledge to join together as we unite the big and small.
• I pledge to do my part to create peace for one and all.
5. Some children connect peace to having a healthy environment. You can start by bringing home a ‘peace’ tree and planting it in your backyard.
Find a local eco group you and your kids can be involved with.
And when your Mothers for Peace Day is coming to a close, sit down quietly with the children and tell them this. Mothers everywhere dream of peace for their children and the world needs children who dream of peace. Tell them how unique they are, how clever they are and that there’s never been another one like them. That you believe that day by day they have an important part in creating peace. Then thank them because by sharing a Mother Day for Peace, you’ve already begun to make those dreams come true.