Children as Teachers of Peace
by Gerald G Jampolsky, M.D., Founder & Diane Cirincione-Jampolsky, Ph.D., Co-Director
Children as Teachers of Peace was founded in 1982 by Gerald G. Jampolsky. The book Children as Teachers of Peace was published in 1982 and its concept has spread throughout the United States and to many countries.
The vision of Children as Teachers of Peace was to create a way for children of the world to express their feelings, ideas, hopes, fears and desires for a better world. This vision included a satellite program with children from China, the Soviet Union, and the United States. They talked to and viewed each other on the television screen at regular intervals. The children became communication bridges to bring their three countries together in this way for the first time in history.
Diane and Jerry coordinated all children's events for the First Earth Run in cooperation with UNICEF. They worked on the September 16 ceremonies for the International Day of Peace, the opening for the UN General Assembly and the beginning of the First Earth Run. On December 11 there were celebrations for the end of the First Earth Run, and UNICEF's 40th anniversary. They coordinated the unifying children's activities in each country as the torch circled the planet.
They served on the UNICEF Delegation to a conference in Yervan, Armenia addressing the questions of children, education and peace in the nuclear age. They left on October 5, 1986 with 52 children for two weeks in the Soviet Union. John Denver joined them in Moscow on October 17 for a Soviet-American children's interaction and concert. Diane and Jerry were convinced that when one travels with children as one's companion and teacher and peace as the goal, NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE.
Between June 18 and June 29, 1986, hearts were opened beyond anyone's imagination on a peace trail that took 17 children, ages 7 to 18, from Beijing to Shanghai, China, under the auspices of Children As Teachers Of Peace. Diane V. Cirincione and Gerald G. Jampolsky, M D. were co-directors and Tai Chi Master Al Huang was the cross-cultural interpreter.
The energy that this peace mission produced in each of us is beyond limits. We are more convinced than ever before that through the simplicity of our children holding hands with each other from country to country, friendship, trust and peace can indeed be established. Our hope does rest in our children.
The 17 American children represented a broad cross cultural, multi-racial diversity of American youth, including heritages from diverse parts of Africa, Mexico, Italy, Russia, England, Viet Nam, Scotland, China, Ireland, Japan and Native America. One of the children, Joseph Timentwa Leach, from Tucson. Arizona, is a direct descendant of seven Native American Indian chiefs. Another boy, Nguyen Vu Nguyen, age 14, from Atlanta, Georgia, spent most of his childhood enduring the hardships of war in South Viet Nam. He finally came to America as a "boat child." In 1984 he won the Children As Teachers Of Peace International Peace Award, among participants from 17 countries Nguyen Vu participated in the Windstar's 1986 Choices For The Future Conference as well as many other activities with Children As Teachers Of Peace.
Latania Graham and Sherrod Brown, both 18-year-old African Americans from Atlanta, represented the Student Leadership Team from Exodus, which operates The Cities in Schools Program. It is an alternative education and youth development program for young people who have not succeeded in a traditional school setting. They epitomize and represent the many inner-city children involved in this program who have turned their lives around and now want to make a difference They and other children have all become active in their own lives in working to make the world a safer and more peaceful place to live.
Prior to leaving the United States, the children gathered in California at Jerry's house from all parts of the country to meet for the first time. The next day the airport was an incredible scene combining excitement, anticipation and joy as we all shared our last American meal for eleven days… Big Macs and french fries.
China was warm and filled with summer. The All-China Women's Federation of the People's Republic of China were our hostesses. The first day and a half, they were polite and formal, but after that the formality disappeared as the children's hearts seemed to melt everyone and the members of the All-China Women's Federation became surrogate mothers to us all. We were one family together.
We quickly found, as we suspected, that language does not act as a barrier as far as children are concerned. Heartfelt friendships quickly began as a result of their pen pal relationships started months earlier. All the adults who had an opportunity to be a witness to the children's interaction, had their hearts touched, opened and softened. It would have been difficult indeed for anyone in the vicinity not to have experienced a personal transformation by just being a witness to their innocence, their openness and their commitment to peace.
We could not have been better treated. Among the many places we visited were Beijing's Children's Hospital, the Jing Shen School, the Summer Palace, Children's Activity Center, the Music and Dance Academies and the Puppet Theater of Shanghai. We met with Mr. Deng Pufang, Chairman of the Handicapped Foundation.
The highlight of our trip was being invited to the Great Hall of China to be greeted by the Vice President of the People's Republic of China, Mr. Wu Lang Fu. After a while, the Vice President was literally sitting on the floor exchanging views on peace with our children. The adults were all "blown away" and the kids just loved "hanging out" with a world leader. Many of the children subsequently expressed more hope for the world... "If this is how a great leader can be… so sincere and caring ... then maybe we do have a chance."
The Vice President was interested and expressed a willingness to support a Children As Teachers Of Peace Project in October, 1986, and plans are underway for exploring the possibilities of implementing that event. Central China Television and China Television taped our journey and are preparing a T.V. special that will be shown throughout China. Beijing Radio did the same thing. CBS also covered parts of our trip and we received broad newspaper and magazine coverage. A good part of China knew we had come and why. Everywhere we went we were showered with warmth and affection. At our pen pals' school, we were greeted with John Denver's Country Roads sung with a deep Chinese accent. It was hard to hold back the tears as we silently shared our love for John, what he stands for and his efforts for building a world of peace.
We met with the Chairwoman of the Children's Division of Central China Television who was interested in pursuing the possibility of a space bridge television program between children of both of our countries.
Throughout the trip each of the children kept a diary, and at the end of their journey, they each expressed the shift that had taken place in their hearts as well as their commitments to peace. Each, in his or her own way, wove the fibers of the tapestry of the trip.
Children As Teachers Of Peace And Aloha
This book, "Children As Teachers Of Peace And Aloha," is a book inspired by an iconic book titled “Children As Teachers Of Peace” which was produced in 1982 by Dr. Jerry Jampolsky, co-founder of the Center for Attitudinal Healing, with his wife Dr. Diane Cirincione-Jampolsky.
"Children As Teachers Of Peace And Aloha" is produced by the Hawaii Center for Attitudinal Healing in a similar fashion, with children from Hawaii adding a focus on the connection of the “Aloha Spirit” to the teaching of peace.
"Children As Teachers Of Peace And Aloha" is being produced to coincide with the 150th birthday celebration of one of the greatest teachers of peace, the great Mahatma Gandhi.
A Child’s Interpretation of the Principles of Attitudinal Healing
A young girl involved in Attitudinal Healing interpreted the Twelve Principles in this heartfelt and accessible way:
Love is who we are. I can let go of being afraid and love myself. When I am giving, I am also getting something back. Yesterday is finished; tomorrow is not here. Right now is a special time to give to myself and to others. If I make a mistake, I can forgive myself and let it go. I can find love when I look for it. I am needed by others. I can find peace even when life isn't peaceful. We are all teaching and learning from each other. Love is forever. I am lovable and capable
Jerry the Cat
Click here for more Cattitudes from Jerry the Cat!
The following is a piece written by Dr. Jerry Jampolsly in March 2000 at a conference for
teenagers that were foster children.
To The Foster Youth
For those of you
Who have suffered
Abuse, neglect, and lack of love
Who suffered from insecurity
And what seemed like a hopeless future
Who felt like a ping pong ball
Going from one foster home to another
Whose pain from loneliness and not
Being able to trust seemed unbearable
For those of you who never knew
Where you would sleep the next day
Or if there would be food for you
For those of you who witnessed
Your parents on drugs
Or doing illegal things
And whose parents are or
Have been in jail
For those of you who
Have felt abandoned
By the world and
abandoned by God
For those of you
Who felt unlovable
And that there
Was no one you
Know The Following:
You are love
You are lovable
God did not cause
The painful things
That happened to you
Honor your anger
But don't hang
You can learn
To forgive and
Let go of the past
You can forgive
The world and
Everything in it
Forgiving doesn't mean
Agreeing or condoning
The terrible things
That have happened to you
In the past
It means only your willingness
To heal the hole
In your heart
And the pain
You carry in your heart
About the past
There is a hopeful future
Be willing to trust
There is a higher power
A loving creator
Who is always there
To nourish you
Regardless of what
Is happening to you
You may not be able
To change your parents
But you can change
The thoughts in your mind
About the past
And about yourself
Remember helping others
Is a way of
Healing the past
You can choose
Peace instead of conflict
Love instead of fear
To be a love finder
Rather than a fault finder
To be a love giver
Rather than a love seeker
And to teach only love
Rather than fear
With all my love,
Gerald Jampolsky, M.D.
March 29, 2000
Who Am I? by Jennifer Hodges
Who am I?
A name, a face, a voice
Do other people really know?
Who am I?
To my parents I am sometimes trouble
but usually pleasure
To my teachers I am usually smart
although sometimes not
To my friends I am generous and understanding
although sometimes I can be a nuisance
I see myself as a teacher, a student
and a very good friend
I am parts of many people
I am part of my family
I am part of my friends
I am part of my enemies
I am part of strangers
I am kind and understanding
but a little insecure.
I am pieces of a puzzle that I think
will sometimes never fit together.
I love modeling and I love reading.
I hate to be bored and I hate to be alone.
I am happy when my friends, or someone else, or I have succeeded.
I am sad when a loved one is sick or has died.
Who am I?
Sometimes even I don’t know.
I remember good times and bad times
and most of all, special times.
I dream to be a successful and peaceful person.
I hope to succeed at my dreams.
Above all else, I am unique.