Conflict and Peacemakers Group Guide

Volume III, Number III

Artwork by Anya Dunaif

How do we create peace in a world of conflict? Is conflict a healthy part of growth and development? KidSpirit writers discuss these weighty issues from many vantage points.

1. In the Big Question, Khalid Husain asks if conflict is necessary for inner growth. He suggests that conflict is important because without it we might become weaker at problem solving, and that peace implies that we have power of everything—ourselves and nature—when in fact we don’t. What do you think? Can conflict be helpful? How should we strive for peace?

2. Cyberbullying has become a problem online, as Naomi Chasek-MacFoy describes. In part it is aided by the anonymity that the Internet provides. Do you know people who have been cyberbullied? What aspects of bullying change online as opposed to in person? Naomi offers advice about cyberbullying given by her friends: “Don’t fight fights online,” “Know your boundaries online” and “Be careful about what you say.” Do you think these ideas work? Why or why not? What is your experience?

3. In “Selected Poems from Around the World” and “Haikus for Peace,” teens all over the world share their poems about peace. Write a poem that reflects your experience with peace or conflict in your neighborhood, family, or community. Share your poem with a friend.

4. In his PerSpectives column, Marc Gopin, an international peacemaker who works with groups involved with religious conflict, writes that “an inability to examine oneself is one of the greatest impediments to peace.” Why would examining the self aid in making peace with others? How conscious are we of the reasons behind our actions? Have you had an experience in which you made peace with someone? What helped you to do so?