Living In The Shadow Of Death: Peace Must Be An Intentional Act (Spring 2014)

A growing concern within the peace building community is the lack of sustainable programs where our children can identify their own self-worth and take ownership in skill building strategies toward creating safer and more caring communities.

Peace building training and development are not a priority within national and international educational paradigms.

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George S. Anthony and Saliba Sarsar

The focus in recent years have shifted toward technology and testing. Our children who are now entrenched in a digital world are bombarded by messages of conflict, images of forward aggressive behaviors and inflammable rhetoric—supported by a social media manipulated by political and organizational agendas.

Is this generation losing its place in a society that is losing touch with peaceful coexistence? Facing a conflict at home, within the community, or on a global scale, places doubt in the ability of youth to create positive, sustainable impacts on society and the future.

Young minds need to be introduced to strategies that can have an immediate influence in their lives and their own communities.  They need to be introduced to the dynamics of culture and faith from within, which then can bring the community in.

The unfortunate reality for many of our children is they still continue to live within the shadow of death. News reports regarding the innocent, many of them children, killed in shooting sprees, terrorist attacks, and wars not of their own making become just another statistic unrecognized by a world at large. Who did we lose? A future physicist? A voice of peace? A light reflecting a beautiful soul? Hope darkened?

If our children are to live in a world embraced by care and hope, they need the support of parents, school teachers and administrators, religious institutions, community leaders, and public officials.

All concerned must recognize that death has expanded its ability and reach to destroy lives and our future. Automatic weapons, bombs, and rockets have replaced it. The blood of the innocents continues to stain our existence.

Peace is hard work. It must be our intentional act. Enabling our children to live peace enhances our collective sanity, our future.

George S. Anthony is executive director of Peace Dynamics, educator, and award-winning conflict resolution specialist and Saliba Sarsar is professor of political science and associate vice president for global initiatives at Monmouth University.

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