Category: peace

Random Acts of Kindness

By , February 16, 2011 12:08 pm


Apparently it is Random Acts of Kindness Week.  Who knew?

But now seems like an excellent time to teach your children about Random Acts of Kindness (RAK) and the concept of Pay it Forward.  I just gave a successful class on this very subject at my children’s Montessori School and here is what I suggest:

  • Make sure everyone understands what the words “random” and “act of kindness” mean.
  • Read the book Because Brian Hugged His Mother by David L. Rice (illustrated by Kathryn Dyble Thompson).  An excellent introduction to the concept of “Pay it Forward” in a story that children can relate to (NOTE:  I have LOVED this book for a long time.  If you want, please read my review).
  • Suggest some easy things kids can do to make a positive difference in someone’s day.  Here are a few:
    • Smile at someone  :-)
    • Hold a door open for someone
    • Do a daily chore normally performed by a sibling
    • Do a household chore without being asked:  feed dog, do the dirty dishes you see in sink, etc.
    • Leave your change in the soda machine for someone else to find
    • Shovel your neighbors’ steps
    • Plant a seed
  • Have the kids brainstorm some more easy ideas.
  • Let them give it a try.  Give them one week to complete one RAK and report back on what they did and the outcome (how it felt, consequences to them if any, etc.).


Random Acts of Kindness Foundation

Kid Activities – Acts of Kindness

KindSpring – Kindness Ideas

[Image thanks to Kid Activities!]

Mama Power – Peace

By , October 14, 2008 8:59 pm

As a mother, much of my daily existence is very mindless and repetitive.  I sometimes feel as though I am repeating the same messages over and over again:  “clean your room,”  “don’t pick your nose,”  “settle down,” or “say please,” are a few favorites of mine.  And of course there are also the two that I swore I would NEVER say to my children:  “we’ll see” (we all know that really means “no”), and “because I said so.” I say these too.

A tape recorder could accomplish the same job, and a robot could do the laundry, cook the meals, pick up the clutter, etc.  Apart from the loving, my daily routine doesn’t take much thought or emotional involvement.

What DOES take intelligence and feeling however, is the effort to instill in our children a sense of our values.

I dislike the term “values.”  It is overused nowadays, and often has a politically conservative connotation.  For some reason it just rubs me the wrong way, like “empower” and “proactive.”

However, the fact is, that every single one of us on this planet has “values.”  We all place emotional or intellectual importance on certain life issues.  In other words, we have principles that we hope to pass along to our children.  While we might wildly disagree on what our “values” should be, we all hope our children will eventually adopt our particular “values” and thus become “good people” (as interpreted differently by each family).

One of the lessons that I would like my children to learn is that of peace.  In my mind peace begins with tolerance and acceptance.  But I don’t want my children to simply tolerate and accept, I want them to truly love the differences that exist on this planet.  I want them to be excited about other cultures, traditions, races, religions, cuisines, languages…everything that is different from themselves and their lives.

I hope I am not rudely presuming too much by venturing to guess that most of the readers of Unplug Your Kids include some version of peace in their set of “values.”  In fact, I believe that most families around the world value peace, even those who we are told are currently “the enemy.”

We as mothers (and fathers of course, but I don’t think many fathers read Unplug Your Kids), have the world’s most important and powerful job.  We have a chance to create a peace-loving generation that celebrates differences. If every family on our planet had peace and tolerance (at the very least) as a value and actively worked to pass this along, could we eradicate war in one generation?

This is obviously a Utopian vision, but as mothers, we must remember that no president, prime minister, king, or queen has the power that we do.  When I get too caught up in dirty laundry and saying “no,” I must remind myself of this.

Like mothers in every corner of this Earth, I feel that even if my children continue to pick their noses into adulthood, I nonetheless will have done my bit for humanity if I manage to produce three enlightened and thoughtful inhabitants of our plant.


It is time again for blogger Mimi Lenox’s semi-annual BlogBlast for PeaceThursday, November 6th is the day when hundreds of bloggers worldwide (40 countries have signed on so far!) will all blog about one topic:  PEACE.  Every post will be entitled Dona Nobis Pacem (“Grant Us Peace”).  This will be my fourth time joining in.

If you hope to contribute to a new generation of peace creators and lovers, please consider joining in.  I’d love to read your thoughts on how you help your children understand that they can and should make a difference in this life.

If you want to participate, head over to Mimi’s to design your own Peace Globe (mine is up above) for your blog and Mimi’s Gallery.

I hope to read your thoughts on November 6th!

Thank You Renny!

By , June 4, 2008 9:54 pm

My Dona Nobis Pacem post was a tad on the dark side this time. These days it is hard for me to think of peace and not free-associate with “gloomy.”

But one positive post that really struck me was by RennyBA from Norway. You should all go and read his words.

His point is that we, as bloggers, can make a difference in this world. He argues that there is a relationship between “peace” and “blogging.” Blogging connects people, and since it creates connections, it MUST ultimately lead to peace. I like that argument.

  • I like the fact that I can read the words of people all over the world and respond to those words.
  • I like it that people from all over the US join in the weekly Unplugged Project, as well as Spain, Canada, the UK, Taiwan, and Fiji so far. We leave our differences behind and all come together once a week in a common endeavor benefiting our children.
  • I like it that Renny, half a world away in Norway, can lift my spirits here in rural Arizona, USA.

Most people are wonderful.

Small epiphanies like this are why I blog.

Thank you Renny!



Dona Nobis Pacem – Vocabulary of Peace

By , June 4, 2008 12:01 am

Apparently UNESCO and the United Nations declared the first ten years of this new millennium a Decade for a Culture of Peace and Nonviolence for the Children of the World. Well, since we are eight years into our “Decade for a Culture of Peace,” I guess I missed that bit of news, and so did the rest of the world it seems.

My two oldest children are now 5 and 7. They have lived their whole lives during this era of a “Culture of Peace.” Without TV, they don’t see the images of war, but they are old enough to notice the words spoken on NPR.

I wish that the words I was having to explain were words of peace, as the UN and UNESCO had hoped: harmony, diversity, love, friendship. Unfortunately what they are asking about is bombs, Iraq, Afghanistan, terrorists, suicide. It could be worse: they haven’t yet inquired about torture, rape, beheading, water boarding … and more importantly, they aren’t living all these horrible words as many children are all over the world.

My parents both grew up in England during WWII. They knew war as more than mere words on a radio. They lived it every day of their childhoods. Air raids, bombs, blackouts, gas masks, shelters, barrage balloons, and shrapnel were part of their daily vocabulary and experience.

Will there ever come a day when those words of horror and violence will be mere ghoulish historical curiosities such as words like guillotine, drawing and quartering, the rack, and the iron maiden?

I want children to grow up learning a vocabulary of peace. As much as I would wish it to be otherwise, it seems unlikely that those fortunate souls will be my children. I simply must hope that some future generation will know the common horrible words of our era only as mere historical remnants of a more violent and primitive time.


Please visit Mimi’s Blog for a master list of all the peace posts that will be written today by bloggers from all over the world.

Peace be with you.

June 4th, 2008 – The Fourth BlogBlast for Peace

By , May 31, 2008 10:12 pm

I heard a wonderful quote this evening on NPR’s All Things Considered. It is from Dwight Eisenhower, and perfectly fits the spirit of the BlogBlast for Peace:

“I like to believe that people in the long run are going to do more to promote peace than our governments. Indeed, I think that people want peace so much that one of these days governments had better get out of their way and let them have it.”

Twice a year Mimi Lenox hosts the BlogBlast for Peace. She explains it better than I can, so please read this excerpt from Mimi’s blog:

Welcome to BlogBlast For Peace – The Fourth Launch! Dona Nobis Pacem is Latin for “Grant Us Peace”. The Peace Globe project began in the fall of 2006 with a simple post from this blog. The post ignited a flame in the blogosphere. The flame became a passion. The passion became a movement. It amazingly travelled from blog to blog across the globe until it reached 35 countries and 46 states. BlogBlast for Peace is a semi-annual blog event. It happened on my blog. It happened on your blog. It happened all over the world. It is positively inspiring to watch. The simplicity of three Latin words on a globe and bloggers writing amazing articles on what peace means to them.
Simple. And powerful.

On June 4, 2008 bloggers from all across the globe will blog for peace. We will speak with one voice. One subject. One day.

I’ll be publishing my third Dona Nobis Pacem peace post on June 4th. Do you care to join me and bloggers from all over the world? Your post doesn’t have to be anything profound. In fact, if you are completely speechless, then why not just “fly” your “peace globe” on the 4th? The point is to join in somehow and let your voice be heard.

Click here to find out how to create your own “peace globe” and have it numbered and displayed in Mimi’s gallery.

If you want to read the peace posts from my archives, then here they are:

June 2007
November 2007 (10 Ideas for Fostering International Understanding in Your Kids).

I hope to see you on June 4th!

(Graffiti photo thanks to and photographer clarita)

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