River Wissey Lovell Fuller

What is peace?

October 2002

A piece about peace

Peace; everyone's heard the word, but do they know what it means?

My patrol at guides decided to do a challenge about peace, there were several activities we could do. One of these required us to talk about what peace means to us. I started to talk about peace and I was horrified that when I asked my fellow guides what peace means to them they didn't know. I was even more horrified to discover that I couldn't help them, I know little more about peace than they did.

So I started to think - after I'd said goodbye to the other patrol members and asked them to think about what peace means to them - what is peace? The booklet that recommended the activities said peace was a feeling, being happy about yourself and having peaceful relationships with you friends and family. And that peace could also be the end of war. But I wasn't sure, perhaps peace is an essence, that everyone perceives but in different ways.

Peace is certainly the end of war, a peaceful life is one without conflict, but I wonder, is that all peace is? Just a state for a country or place to be in or is peace more than that?

I started to realise why this had been such a difficult subject for my friends, 'What does peace mean to you?' is a very difficult question when you're only 11. I'm only two years older than that and I'm still quite baffled. I start to think what they might come up with, the first thing I thought of was that peace could be the end of bullying. As bullying affects so many children (in fact many adults suffer it), I thought perhaps they might think of that. I suffered bullying myself, so I felt very strongly about it, but would my friends see the connection between an end to bullying and peace? I didn't know.

Another thing the booklet said was peace was being able to be yourself, to practise your own religion and customs without being hated and feared. I agree with that. I'm starting to realise that peace comes in many forms and with many definitions - inner peace, peacetime, peace-keeper, live in peace, rest in peace... all these phrases about peace, is there one true definition of peace? Or is it indefinable? Something that only you can know, everyone has their own idea of what peace is, I just hope my friends find their own. Will they? Only time will tell.

For now I leave you with this thought, 'What does peace mean to you?"

Elinor Tuffnell

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