My six year old loves the song, “If I Die Young” by The Band Perry. If you don’t know it, it is the song about how a young girl dies and is buried in the river at dawn wearing satin in a bed of roses….you know the one I mean. It is such a sad song, and our family happens to know a family who lost their 17 year old daughter just a few years ago, and the song still brings tears to my face. God bless you, Kristen Rose.
The lyrics to the song mention the “ballad of the dove – go with peace and love..,” one of my own life statements and symbols. Whenever I sign letters to my kids, I draw an infinity sign with a peace sign on one side and a heart on the other. Where am I going with this, you ask? I will tell you.
I was just reading my friend and colleague’s blog and catching up with fellow-LAR Polina in PA, when it occurred to me that the Au Pair Program is a bit like the Israeli and Palestinian “Seeds of Peace” camps being held in Maine, the northernmost New England state. Polina writes how her Family Conference Day was an example of tolerance and respect for different cultures around the world. Knowing Polina, her meeting was filled with activities designed to share the best of each participant.
The “Seeds of Peace” camp has been in the news as a model for the home countries currently warring with each other. What an example these young people are to the leaders of their respective nations of “what life could be.” To gather together and share activities, feelings and conflicting ideas can be a huge challenge, as I am sure the professional facilitators of the 3-week program in Otisfield, Maine have experienced. Agreement may not be the ultimate goal, but peace and calm communication about very real issues is vital.
I am grateful for co-workers like Polina, who is herself originally from Ukraine, currently embroiled in fight for independence from Russia. Polina herself embodies the song of the dove, she comes with peace and love and brings such to each of her meetings with au pairs and Host Families. I count myself lucky to know her. This world needs more programs like the peace camp in Maine, which is in its 22nd year of operation, and more bright lights like Polina.
I’d like to end with a quote from another favorite song, “Imagine” by John Lennon. Killed when I was but a child, his message rings clearly in my ears; when we accept people with different backgrounds and beliefs into our lives, if only for a short time, we are living this song. Imagine, as you show your children another culture through the eyes of their au pair, the seed you yourself can plant so we are one step closer to what really could be. Educate your children through your words and actions.
Thanks for reading and keep dreaming!
“Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace…
You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will be as one” – John Lennon