loved to surf the Internet, but he had never actually
been IN Cyberspace before. Now that he was, he wasn't
exactly scared, but he was shocked. Maya squeezed
his hand and led him through the misty-soupy haze
where her friends were waiting.
everyone," Maya called out to the BetterWorld
Kids who were just beginning to sit in a circle.
"This is my Grandfather, Peace Dreamer."
The BetterWorld Kids happily welcomed Maya and
her Grandfather into the circle and they had a seat.
The BetterWorld Kids quietly chit-chatted with each
other while Ahmed, the Club Secretary, was busy
tapping on his computer. "The weekly meeting of
the BetterWorld Kids Club is officially called to
order!" Ahmed said as he tapped away and everyone
Everyone turned to Maya and her guest. They
had heard a lot about Maya's grandfather and
were happy that he could finally join them. He looked
so old and so wise and kind that everyone couldn't
help thinking of him as "Grandfather."
has just started a website that shares the visions
of elders of many traditions who dream of peace
for our world," Maya explained.
The children all agreed that they wanted to visit
Grandfather Peace Dreamer's website. Grandfather
gave Ahmed the web-address and he tapped away on
us about your dream of peace," Sunanda asked Grandfather
as Ahmed typed.
upon a time, there was no more war," Grandfather
began, and he closed his eyes, feeling right at
home in Cyberspace. "No more guns were ever fired.
Every nation worked out its problems with its neighbors
peacefully. Everyone tried to get along with each
other and they treated Mother Earth with respect,
knowing that her gifts were not just for this generation
but for many generations to come..."
As Grandfather spoke, the soupy haze began to fade
away and the BetterWorld Kids found themselves sitting
in the grass looking out at a tremendous valley
of flowers and trees and tiny houses tucked away
beneath a blue, blue sky. They heard birds chirping
and the sounds of insects.
Grandfather had closed his eyes when he began describing
his vision of peace on earth. When he opened them
and saw where he was, he wasn't surprised at all.
He smiled, as if he had traveled through cyberspace
to this very spot many times before already.
live in a beautiful world," Grandfather sighed.
"But it would be so much closer to heaven on earth
if we would only DECIDE as ONE PEOPLE to work to
make it so. If every decision we made as individuals
and as societies was made with knowledge that our
actions affect everyone around us, and will have
an effect on the next generation and the generation
after that... well, then we would have hope to create
a world at peace."
Grandfather may not have been surprised when they
materialized in this perfect place, but the BetterWorld
Kids were. They couldn't believe how big and beautiful
and amazing the world was.
As they sat there gazing at the wonder of it all,
a Great Eagle swooped down from the sky. Its shadow
was so big that it blocked the sun for a moment.
Then it flapped down and landed on Grandfather's
shoulder and whispered something into his ear.
Grandfather nodded. Then he stood up, and the bird
flew from his shoulder and landed on the ground.
But as the eagle spread its wings out, they seemed
to grow until they were fifty feet wide.
Grandfather laughed and led the children onto the
Great Eagle's back.
As soon as they were all comfortably seated, the
Eagle rose into the sky. They soared up and into
the clouds and the BetterWorld Kids shrieked with
excitement. Then they swooped down and flew over
the valley. Down in the valley they could see people
going about their daily lives and they could feel
how happy the people were. None of the Kids could
remember when they had ever seen anyone that happy.
Soon they were back together in the soupy haze of
CyberSpace. Grandfather opened his mouth to continue
with the story.
The children were excited. They loved Grandfather's
story about peace on earth. But last week they had
learned something new that seemed to fit perfectly
with Grandfather's story, and they just had to share
it with him.
order to have peace on earth, we have to create
a 'Culture of Peace'" Ahmed said proudly.
yes," Grandfather exclaimed, rather surprised. "That's
a perfect way of describing the time when peace
will be what we all work for... but where did you
hear that expression?"
Maya smiled and lovingly hugged her grandfather.
"A friend of ours showed us that the United Nations
had declared this decade as...." she paused for
International Decade for a Culture of Peace & Nonviolence
for the Children of the World!" everyone said together.
Grandfather exclaimed. "I didn't know that!"
The children felt very proud. Maya's Grandfather
was the wisest person they knew. And they knew something
he didn't know!
Johnny sighed, "We're not really sure exactly what
a culture of peace means..."
all the violence on TV and all the problems in our
neighborhoods and around the world, we know we don't
have one now..." Ling declared.
how can we change things so that we have this culture
of peace?" Sunanda wondered.
Grandfather said. The children had caught him by
surprise today. He thought a moment.
a culture of peace," José said breaking the silence,
"We would learn how to work out our problems without
all part of the peer mediation programs at our schools
..." Erin exclaimed, "it's taught us a lot about
a very important part of a culture of peace," Grandfather
agreed. "Now, you tell me, what else would we need
to have for 'a culture of peace?'"
Everyone put their thinking caps on. "Well," Solomon
piped up..."Working for peace would have to be our
number one goal..."
just for us, as kids, but adults, too!" Jamal agreed.
not just people, but governments!" Sunanda exclaimed.
especially for corporations!" Johnny said. His father
had just been laid off after 15 years at his job
when his company merged with another company, and
things were tough at home right now. "In a culture
of peace people would come before profits!"
Michiko agreed. "And people wouldn't have jobs that
hurt people or the planet. They'd have jobs that
made life better for everyone."
better for the earth!" Ahmed added.
said Grandfather, "You're right about all of these
things. In a culture of peace, people would not
act as if today was all that mattered, but they
would know that whatever they did could affect the
lives of their children and their children's children."
Grandfather was very surprised. "See. You children
DO understand what a culture of peace would be like...
So how do you think we could change our culture
so that peace was important..."
have to make the Peace Industry as big as the War
Industry!" Solomon declared.
a great idea!" Grandfather smiled. "Then there would
lots of jobs that helped build a better world. The
peace industry would help change our culture of
violence into a culture of peace."
we had a culture of peace, then people would be
encouraged to work together to solve the problems
of the world," Erin pointed out.
would be much easier to do the right thing" Jamal
our culture now, when people want to do good,"
Grandfather sighed, "usually they have to volunteer.
Their good deed is their only reward. If there were
a big Peace Industry, there would be plenty of paying
jobs for people who want to do good. People could
finally use their creative talents and energies
to find new and better ways to help others and make
a better world, instead of competing to see who
can make the most money..."
of all the wonderful things that people could work
together to accomplish in a culture of peace!" Maya
have REAL heroes on TV and in the movies -- role
models who showed us peaceful ways get along with
our families and our neighbors and between nations,"
José nodded in agreement. "People would value life
more, and wouldn't find violence exciting because
it really is scary, not fun like they try to make
would be a topic that everyone could talk about,"
our families and at school..." Jamal said.
Maya began humLing 'Let there be peace on earth.'
"People would write many more songs about working
together For a Culture of Peace..."
Erin jumped up and exclaimed, "People would write
stories about how peace is so much more than not
right Peace is a process... it's respecting the
earth and each other, in everything we do..." Grandfather
day we'd read stories in the newspaper about people
all around the world who were making the world more
peaceful..." said Ling as she tried to picture the
newspaper she'd read that morning. She remembered
seeing only angry headlines, when she knew the paper
could just as easily have let people know about
all of the positive things that were happening in
her neighborhood and in places just like it all
around the world.
would be movies about working For a Culture of Peace,
and TV shows..." Johnny clapped.
learn about other cultures and other peoples. The
more we find out about others' the more we realize
they're just like us," Michiko giggled as she looked
around at her friends.
how do we start to build a culture of peace?" Grandfather
asked. "Who will take the first step to create this
been happening all along, Grandfather!" Maya
laughed. "People all around the world have been
working hard to try to make a better world!"
Ahmed called out. "So many wonderful things are
happening all around us."
right!" Grandfather agreed. "The news on TV keeps
telling us that things are getting worse and worse,
but many millions of people want a better world
for us all, and are doing little and big things
to make it happen."
soon, there will be so many changes happening that
the world will suddenly realize the Peace Industry
has turned our culture of violence into a culture
of peace," Jamal assured them.
it'll seem like it happened overnight, but it's
been happening all the time..." Sunanda pointed out.
important things ARE happening!" said Johnny. "In
September each year, the Ambassadors from all around
the world begin their year's work For a Culture
of Peace at the United Nations!"
on September 21 each year the United Nations and
the whole world celebrate the International Day
of Peace," Ahmed exclaimed.
said Maya. "On the International Day of Peace,
all of the victories for peace that have happened
throughout the year are shared with the United Nations
and the world."
it's a time to re dedicate ourselves to work harder
for peace during the coLing year..." Ahmed reminded
world is starting to Countdown to the International
Day of Peace..." José began.
we're making EVERY DAY COUNT!" the children cheered,
and each one called out a way that they were helping
create a better world.
taking one day at a time, and trying to be as loving
as we can."
we learn from our mistakes, and try harder..."
we're helping out any way that we can..."
let everyone know that working For a Culture of
Peace is important to us!"
OF US!" the kids exclaimed.
Grandfather had tears in his eyes. Looking at the
children, he knew that the Peace Industry is indeed
very much alive and well. "May peace prevail on
earth" he whispered as he hugged them all, knowing
that this wish was really coLing true.