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Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Report of 'Families Creating Tomorrow's World' Part 1

This event was held in Japanese, but I want to share the wonderful experience with the wider community, so I will write this report in English.

'Parents and Children Creating Tomorrow's World' was held on Sunday November 12th, 2006 at Satoko's house (the home of Peace Philosophy Centre for now) from 10 AM to 12:30 PM with 11 families (12 adults - 1 father and 11 mothers and 21 children age 0 to 9) and 5 adults. The event was held to raise awareness for peace and sustainability among families and for them to create actual plans to save this world.

Peace Philosophers of today's event were: Noriko Ashizawa, an early childhood educator who grew up in Nagasaki and currently teaches at a Japanese language school in Vancouver, Sayuri Ishimoto, also an early childhood educator currently studying to be a licensed preschool teacher in the Capilano College ECE (Early Childhood Education) Program, and Makie Blaine, who shared her magical cooking skills by making healthy and delicious snacks for us.

The first part of the morning was facilitated by Noriko and her session was focused on peace. She used the DVD 'Peace Message' created by Ronnie Alexander that came with the general catalogue of Kyoto Museum for World Peace, Ritsumeikan University. She brought hand-crafted felt dolls of the cat Popoki and Ronnie, two main characters in the DVD, and children were magically introduced into the colourful journey of exploring peace with Popoki and Ronnie. What is peace? What colour is it? What does it smell like? What does it sound like? Is peace being able to help each other? Is peace about loving each other?

After showing the DVD, Noriko invited the children to draw on a piece of paper what peace was to each - also with a drawing of what their loved ones would look like when they are the happiest. Some children shared with us what they drew. Ms. E said peace was being able to play with her friends, being read to, and being able to write letters. Mr. K said peace was swimming. For Ms. M, the happiest she saw in her mom was when she cooked.

Noriko read to us 'the Peace Book' By Todd Park that talks about what peace could be about - e.g. sharing food, hugging friends, having a house to live in, being able to travel, being free, and being who you are. Then the room blacked out and now we were in the opposite world - we were in Nagasaki on August 9th, 1945 when the second atomic bomb on the human kind was dropped on the city and killed 70,000 people. It was the world where we were not free, we didn't have food, we were too hurt to hug each other, we didn't have a house to live in, we weren't able to travel, we weren't free, and we weren't who we were. With another blackout, we came back to the peaceful world.

Peace has to be earned. It has to be earned every day, not just for oneself but for all others. Not just for the human kind but for all species. This is the message that I learnt from Noriko's session. Being from Nagasaki, she carries special energy for empowering people with hope for peace, the kind of hope that revived the city from the devastation in 1945.

Thank you Noriko for sharing your passion for peace with us, and as always, your magical skills to draw children's attention and brings out the best of them. I will continue on to the next part.

Satoko

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