Posts tagged: Dona Nobis Pacem

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!

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)

Dona Nobis Pacem (10 Ideas for Fostering International Understanding in Your Kids)

By , November 7, 2007 12:59 am

Sometimes I am a glass half-full type of person, and sometimes I am more inclined to be a glass-half empty type.

About peace…I think I am running on empty. I feel that throughout history there never has been peace. There never will be peace in the future either. It is just human nature to fight.

Religion, which is supposed to be all about peace (no matter what the religion), seems often to make matters worse. The Crusades, the Inquisition, etc. I’ll stop my brief list there so as to not get myself into too much trouble.

The glass half-full part of me says: “Hey, wait a minute! Why not start with the children?”

Well, why not start with the children? What an excellent idea. If all the world’s children could learn about and appreciate other cultures, races, and religions, then wouldn’t there HAVE to be peace?

Glass half-empty says: “There is no way to teach every child in the world these things!”

Glass half-full says: “Maybe not, but the way to start is with our own children. Let’s teach them about the beauty of diversity.”

Yes let’s.


Here are ten thoughts on how to do that:

1) Have your child learn a foreign language, either through their school or through home, online or language school study. The US is one of the only countries in the world where a child/adult can get all the way through school, and even college and beyond, without learning another language.

2) Take your children to local multicultural events such as Chinese New Year celebrations, Greek festivals, etc. Check your local paper for details.

3) Travel with your children, which leads to the next suggestion:

4) Get your child a passport now so that he or she can travel with you when old enough, and the opportunity for foreign travel arises. Passport processing is taking a long time these days, so why not simply put it on your to-do list and get it over with right away. (Most US post offices can issue passports and even take the passport photos, it is very easy). By the way, passports are now required for air travel to Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and Bermuda, even for infants.

5) If your children are teens and are interested…let them be an exchange student. I did it as a teen (twice) and it totally changed my life!

Youth for Understanding (the program I used)

AFS Intercultural Programs


6) Host an exchange student in your home (it doesn’t have to be for a year, it can be a semester, a summer, or even less!) Check out links above, or Google “international student exchange.”

7) Get your child a penpal. Google “penpal” for some sites that can arrange this. Being the paranoid parent, I would check it out carefully first though before signing up. I would choose a “snail mail” penpal over an email one, and would monitor the whole thing very carefully. Check with your child’s school too. Often penpal arrangements can be made through a teacher at school. If a teacher has contact with a teacher in a foreign country, many times classes can exchange letters.

8) Go to the library and check out an international cookbook. Cook an exotic foreign meal together, talk a little about that country, and find it on the map or globe.

9) If you and your family are really in the mood for adventure, either rent a house in a foreign country or do a house swap. A house swap is where you trade a month in your house, for a month in someone else’s house for example. Sometimes the trade even includes the use of a car. There are many websites dedicated to rentals and home swaps. The classifieds in the back of alumni magazines are also a good source. Many college alums prefer to rent their foreign house or apartment to another responsible alum rather than a total stranger.

Here are some house swap websites (note: I am not personally familiar with any of these):

HomeLink International

Home Exchange

Home Xchange Vacation

10) And of course the simplest and cheapest way to expose your children to other cultures, is to read to them. Go to the library. Read multicultural books to your children. Check my International Children’s Book Day post for detailed suggestions of books and web links to books for some ideas.

For inspiration, here are some of our favorite multicultural/international books. The last one is a real eye-opener: Material World: A Global Family Portrait, is geared more toward adults, but children will find it fascinating too, when read with an adult.

(For more info on two of these titles: I have written posts about Wake Up World, and Let’s Eat – plus another here about Let’s Eat)

Dona Nobis Pacem…Grant Us Peace – PLEASE!!!

Please visit Mimi’s Blog to find links to many, many, many more Peace Posts today.

Also, for more thoughts on peace, please visit my June Dona Nobis Pacem post.

Dona Nobis Pacem

By , June 6, 2007 12:01 am

My parents are older and English. They were school-age children at the start of WWII, and teenagers by the time it was over. They have many tales of going to school with gas masks (or “forgetting” them at home so you got to miss class to go and retrieve them!), bomb shelters, air raid sirens, blackout curtains, barrage balloons, unexploded bombs that dropped in the schoolyard, incendiary bombs that burned the scenery for the school play, and shrapnel collections. It seems that children are very adaptable, even in extreme circumstances.My paternal grandfather served on the front lines in WWI. He never, ever spoke of it.

In the safe, comfortable world that I live in, it is hard to imagine what life was like for my parents or grandparents during that time. What if bombs started dropping on my town? What if my children went to school with gas masks? I am sad that there are people in this world today who know what all this, and worse, is like.

I am sure my parents’ and grandparents’ generations hoped that those two terrible wars would be the last. Surely we as a species should have learned our lesson then. But of course, humans always seem to find something to fight about.

I remember my father telling me as a child the story of The Christmas Truce of 1914. That Christmas German and British soldiers decided amongst themselves to have a temporary ceasefire. The Germans lit little Christmas trees along their trench. The trees had been sent to them from their families. Both sides sang Christmas carols, sometimes together (apparently “Oh Come All Ye FaithfulAdeste Fideles, is a universal one).

They finally left the trenches, met in the middle, swapped cigarettes, played cards and, in one place, soccer (the Germans won 3-2). They exchanged little trinkets such as buttons, hats or small gifts from care packages with one another. They also helped each other bury their dead. In a few areas this unofficial ceasefire (which alarmed the authorities on both sides) lasted until New Year’s, at which point they began the job of shooting each other once again.

I am not a historian and I have read that there is some disagreement as to the exact details and extent of the Truce, but my wish here is to highlight the spirit of this ceasefire. People are the same. People can get along if left alone.

Dona Nobis Pacem…Grant Us Peace – PLEASE!!!

Please visit Mimi’s Blog to find links to many, many, many more Peace Posts today.

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