This week was celebrated at my school as Peace Week. From candle lighting & pledges to Peace Assemblies to singing anthems of the sub continent countries to releasing Peace balloons, there were scores of ways we went on the Peace Trail.
What is Peace? Where do we find it? These were some questions our pupils pondered upon and talked about. Isn’t it such a blessing to be in places where there is no conflict, to eke a living? Only when we get into a conflict zone, a place where human rights are trampled, do we really learn to appreciate Peace. When I say this I mean external Peace. It is so true that we realise the worth only when something is not there with us. So we pine for things we don’t have. I am reminded of the immortal words of John Keats in the Ode to a Skylark:
“We look before and after,
And pine for what is not:”
While working in schools it is so good to be in touch with young people but at the same time it is also scary to see their fragile selves. I am sure this is true of children all over. I know that many adults suffer from this syndrome but to see children going through these issues even while at impressionable ages is bound to strike you like a whiplash. Many have major self esteem issues. Then there are those who long for attention. Those who feel solitary and ignored. Those who feel the peer pressure. Those who have no friends. Those who dominate like raptors and those who are meek as doves. Those who experience complete neglect from their parents – for they are busy earning and making life comfortable and luxurious for their children. It pains me to see that these parents do not realise that their children don’t need anything material; they expect only quality time spent with them. The complexities that today’s children are far too many. Not to mention the stress of studying lessons and writing examinations that will brand them as achievers, mediocres and goners.
So I hope all young people will endeavour to do just this. Accept yourself, warts and all. Once you embrace yourself, your heart and spirit feels so light. It is such a liberating feeling.
You are special. You are you, so unique and there is no one like you in this whole Universe. Like yourself. Love yourself. Feel good about yourself. Never try to be someone else. You can only be you and never others. You can emulate others but still you can never be anybody else but you. And once you make peace with yourself, there will be Peace within. When there is Peace within, there will be Peace outside too. Imagine such a place full of young people and Peace. They will cause a ripple of Peace first. Then the ripple will grow wider and wider. What a tranquil and serene world will that be!
Finally, in our eagerness to find Peace we look for it outside. The infinite well of Peace resides within us. So go within. Explore. Discover. Enjoy. Find that Peace that will make us graceful human beings who will weather storms without breaking or bending. Have Peaceful days, weeks, months and years ahead!