FAMILY: Working Together Gives Peace a Chance


This article originally appeared in Issue# 39

How can we teach our children to make peace rather than war? Teach them to resolve conflicts rather than hide behind walls of fear? One Ohio family's unusual project exercises imagination and willingness while putting the whole family to work in a joint effort.

It all started when Leslie Hudak of Ohio attended a lecture on the nuclear arms race. She went home from listening to Dr. Helen Caldicott of Physicians for Social Responsibility, looked at her two sleeping daughters and said to herself, "I've got to do something."

She thought of picketing or writing letters but then she called some friends together and they decided to write and produce a musical. Their brainchild, Alice in Blunderland, is a delightful, ingenious takeoff on the famous children's classic that uses children and adults in a charming and thoughtful production. The intergenerational effort is not accidental, since the Hudaks believe that children need to be able to talk about their fears and develop confidence in their ability to make a difference.

Now their interfaith group, Legacy Inc., distributes the musical and an accompanying study guide and kit describing how to adapt it to any size group.

The Hudaks' story is only one example of the kind of "peacemaking" effort that can be undertaken by individuals, families, churches, synagogues or schools seeking to use media creatively to further their goals. In fact, in cities and towns across the continent, groups and individuals are using a variety of media to promote peace — from programs on public access cable channels to letter exchanges with Soviet families.

Such projects also have a "ripple" effect, since media coverage of their efforts can inspire others. With the media hungry for positive news, the simplest public relations effort can sometimes reap a bountiful harvest of coverage. But it all starts with one person, somewhere, with an idea for making the world a better and safer place.

Author Bio: 

Margaret Foth wrote Your Time, a radio program for families sponsored by Mennonite Media Ministries, Harrisonburg, Virginia. She is the mother of four children. Since concluding the Your Time program, Margaret has worked as a mediator and trainer in conflict resolution skills and practice.