At the conclusion of a recent church service that I attended, my pastor wanted the parishioners to pay special attention to a banner out in the narthex before they left the church. The pastor proceeded to tell us that the youth who attend school right next to the church were discussing the situation in Syria and all of the cruel acts that were happening to the Syrian people. The elementary students were very sad and prayed for peace in that country. They knew that the power of prayer would help, but they wanted to do more so they decided to create a banner to be displayed for people to view. In creating the banner, the students decided to use construction paper and colored pencils to outline their hands and cut them out. To share their voice, the students wrote on their set of hands how they could bring peace to others. Some students wrote things such as:
“Not fight with my brother and sister”
“Try to act kind to others”
“Listen to my parents”
“I will pray that the wars will stop”
“I will think of others before me”
After they wrote a few ways to bring peace to others, the students placed all of the cut-out hands to form the word PEACE. It was an awesome display. As I walked to my car, I was thinking about how these students could take this message to the next level by using social media to help raise awareness and cause a contagious peace act to occur across the state, nation, and possibly the world. What if these students challenged each school, community, state, and country to commit how they plan to bring peace to others? What if these students could see the power that they have by one small act of making a peace banner in their school and displayed in church could possibly change how someone acted toward another? What if these students received responses for all over the world thanking them for taking the first step themselves as youth to do what they can to bring peace to others? A lyric from the song that I typically here at elementary winter concerts, “Let There Be Peace On Earth”, made me think about this notion of social media and the students’ message. Let it begin with me! I think that people don’t realize how social media can help touch the lives of students and the lives of the people with whom they have connected. All I know is that the peace banner could have affected the students in a much more powerful way as well as affected more people than our church parishioners.