Achieving World Peace: Starting Within Ourselves

Johanna Brown


Mother Teresa once said: “Spread love everywhere you go: first of all in your own house. Give love to your children, to your wife or husband, to a next door neighbor… Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.” It is my belief that in order for our society to function better as a whole, we must begin by finding peace in the smaller things in life. Within our families, our circle of friends, and within ourselves, we must find a way to promote peace and understanding if we are to ever resolve the conflicts of the world.

            There are so many issues in the world today that need attention, conflicts that need to be resolved. One issue, for example, is the devastating terrorist act performed against America. The attacks on America on September 11th, 2001 are a prime example of world conflict and the lack of resolution we so desperately need. We as Americans have been violated by the collapse of the World Trade Center, and as Americans we have stood together to prove to our enemies that we will not simply bow out gracefully. We stood tall, firm, and proud of our American heritage. We made it a point to let everyone know that we would not back down. Our country had been outrageously disrespected and we were not simply going to let this pass without justice being served. But the question is this: How did we do this? Did we communicate to our attackers that we were too proud to let our homeland be destroyed by means of peaceful discussion? Did we try to make offerings of peace? Did we make any attempt to understand the wants and needs of our

attackers, in order to alleviate the tension between us? The answers to these questions are no.

            After the 9/11 attacks, Americans came together as a community. Paying no attention to race, religion, sex, age, social status, or any such factors, we bonded to show the world just how strong and united we can be. Armies of men, women and even children formed in protest to mourn the loss of loved ones. We came together, bonded by a power so strong that no force could break it. This seemingly would be a positive thing, but the truth is, it was not. The reason we came together is because so many people, not all, but very many, were filled with rage, anger and hatred for the people responsible for making us look foolish and incompetent. This can never promote anything positive.

            These days, too many people are all too easily consumed by hate and negativity. Too many bad influences circulate the world today. The youth of our nation has time and time again been corrupted by drugs, weapons, sex appeal, crime and violence. Too many youths are developing strong opinions and ideas that do not promote peace in the community. If this generation does not somehow come together to unite in peace, learn to get along, and cherish life and all it has to offer, how will the next generation survive? I feel that we all need to start in our own homes and try to work harder at getting along. This is easier said than done, for many different reasons. So many factors affect the way our family units operate, how we deal with our family members, how we speak to each other, and how we live together.                                       

One such factor is the absence of parental supervision for children. We are living in the new millennium; this is not the storybook fantasy that the 40’s and 50’s were. Nowadays, mothers are too busy working full time jobs, leaving children alone much more often and for longer periods of time. No guidance is provided for children the way it was when my parents were very young and growing up. Children are getting into more serious and deeper trouble and yet they are being punished less and less for their actions. Parents are often too tired or stressed to deal with their children or set rules for how to live. I believe that this kind of behavior will lead to destruction in the future. It is becoming more and more difficult for children to decipher right from wrong, leaving much more room for blunders in society. The bottom line is this: Children still need attention on a regular basis. Just because technology has made living life day to day easier than it was 20 years ago, it doesn’t mean that our free time should be spent in total recreation for our own self benefit. Parents, relatives, neighbors, and older siblings should all lend a hand in raising the children of the world the way they should be; as loving, caring, compassionate people. These children are our future. How will they live if they don’t learn to love? If they have no concept of compassion, how will the world be run? If they make no attempt at spreading peace and happiness, how many more attacks like 9/11 will they be forced to endure? We have anobligation to assure our sons and daughters that they will be able to live in a world that nurtures them, instead of prepares them for a life of fearing.                                                                                   

As far as the way we should treat our neighbors is concerned, I believe that we should do our best to treat them as though they were family members as well. We all are a family in this country. We may not all live together in the same house, or share the same last name, but the truth is, in one way or another, we all need each other to survive much like a family does. It could be so easy for neighbors to get along better if they would only spend more time talking to each other and getting to know each other. After all, a strong community is what we often long for. How can we be united as a community if we can’t get to fully know and understand each other?

Some may say that there is no hope for peace in the world and that there never will be resolution to the conflicts facing us every day as Americans. This thought quite obviously plagues many minds, as it should. However, it simply is not enough only to think about these issues. We all need to try and really look at the critical issues at hand in the world. We must try to end the type of thinking that goes on today. What good can happen from raiding caves and destroying a single individual like Osama Bin Laden? There will only be another like him in the future to deal with. Adding to the violence in the world will not prove any point except that we cannot devise a better solution to world conflict. The most important thing we can do as individuals is try to become more open to communication by starting with our own family and neighbors. If we can learn to be peaceful with others, they will be more peaceful with us. The only solution that will have a lasting effect is communication.  Rather than pointing a finger at others, it is imperative

that we ask ourselves what we can do collectively, as a community, to achieve peace and comfort, not just in the United States, but in the rest of the world as well.