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All ages talk peace in Kansas City

All ages talk peace in Kansas City

Published: October 20, 2010
Ira Harritt

Ira Harritt is AFSC's Program Coordinator in Kansas City.

Photo: AFSC / Jon Krieg

By Ira Harritt

I recently had the pleasure of making presentations to two very different groups, but both experiences were very heartening.

One group was made up of retired clergy, who had many years of preaching under their belts. I shared thoughts and hopes for peace. I discussed a quote from Antoine de Saint Exupéry, author of the The Little Prince, who once wrote “If you want to build a ship, don't drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.”

I challenged them and myself to help people yearn for peace. Most of the retired clergy group’s members were eager to engage in new thinking and were looking for ways to continue to serve their communities after decades of ministering. They still were wanting to help make the world a better place.

The second group was the Learning Club, an after-school program for children in inner-city Kansas City, Kansas. The children participated in the “Lend Us Your Hands for Peace” art activity. They listened attentively to the story of the evil and good wolves that are battling inside each person and inside our community. They took in the notion that the wolf that triumphs will be the one we feed.

After the story they brainstormed words that would feed the good wolf—happiness, love, caring, goodness. Then we asked about hunger, sickness… things about which many already knew too much. They dove into the art project drawing their hand, producing creative and innocent pictures stating “Here is My Hand for Peace.”

It was good to see souls beginning their journey in life and those approaching the end, both envisioning and expressing their dreams and hopes for a peaceful and just world.