Love in Any Language

24 05 2011

Children’s Peace Pavilion director

Spring often evokes a wish in people to sort, create, and rejuvenate their lives. As spring bursts forth, I find myself reviewing this last school year and realizing it has been a busy time for the Children’s Peace Pavilion.

I assumed directorship of the pavilion in July 2010. August found the pavilion with an expanded and enriched vision, reduced staffing, and a budget designed to provide fiscal stability.

This was a busy time as families, neighborhood groups, and private schools rushed to tour the pavilion.

During late October and early November, the Community of Christ RV Association refurbished the exhibits, prepared several areas for new displays, and completed some remodeling.

Outreach International, a humanitarian organization affiliated with Community of Christ, developed a display featuring African and Philippine villages for the museum’s Peace for Everyone area. Bryce Veazey, co-founder of Major Oak Productions, created and produced new, exciting, and enticing DVDs. As the new year rolled around, a new display of role models from around the world expanded the children’s understanding of peace.

Guests come from public, private, and charter schools; early childhood centers; faith-based groups; and Girl Scout troops. Families, neighborhood groups, and home-schooled children drop in daily.

The pavilion’s interactive displays teach children life skills that will help in their peacemaking journey. The exhibits introduce the four elements of peace: Peace for Me, Peace for Us, Peace for Everyone, and Peace for the Planet.

Peace for Me helps children discover the wonder, beauty, and worth within themselves, where peace begins. Peace for Us explores daily relationships, stressing cooperation, communication, and conflict resolution. Peace for Everyone encourages peace among groups and includes cultural appreciation and diversity. Peace for the Planet addresses stewardship, care, and appreciation for the earth.

The pavilion focuses on shalom for all of creation.

As I watch the reactions of the children and adults, I am convinced the pavilion is a necessary ministry for the world. It helps us fulfill our calling found in Doctrine and Covenants 161:2a:

Become a people of the Temple—those who see violence but proclaim peace, who feel conflict yet extend the hand of reconciliation, who encounter broken spirits and find pathways for healing.

One Saturday, as a Girl Scout troop viewed the conflict-resolution video Stop, Think, Peace. A middle-school student blurted, “I could have used this before I started a fight at school this quarter!”

Other students at the Children’s Peace Pavilion talked about using this conflict-resolution method with siblings and parents. As the children complete the exhibits, you hear voices say, “Stop, think, peace.” It’s a contrast from arguments, name-calling, frustration, and teachers’ raised voices.

When parents or grandparents bring children to the pavilion, the young ones scoot away from their parents, rushing to the displays. When they return, you hear, “Wow, this is neat! Come on, let’s go make a picture!”

The immediate impact is clear as you watch children—from urban core or suburban areas—complete the displays.

It’s also clear when you see a quiet, shy child grow in self-assurance and confidence. As the two hours pass you see such children become free to express their opinions as they work with a team to complete tasks.

Just a few days ago, a small family came for a return visit. They had given their child a list of 10 things she could pick to do that morning. Her quick and repeated response was to go back to the pavilion.

The children leave with broad smiles, shining eyes, and love on their faces. They chant, “I wanna be a peacemaker in my home, in my school, in my neighborhood, and in my world.”

It is with renewed confidence that we watch the impact of the pavilion on the children who are our future.



2 responses

24 05 2011
Jenn Killpack

Hi Bill – I have shared your message with Rebecca Belcher, the peace pavilion coordinator. I believe she is the best person to start with in regards to your request. Blessings on this new endeavor!

24 05 2011
Bill Gunlock, Taipei Church

How can I start a peace group with my nine pre-teen and teenagers in Taipei? Can anyone help?

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