School’s back in session, Halloween displays are out and you’re already planning the menu for this year’s Thanksgiving feast. The holiday season isn’t here just yet, but it’s right around the corner. As you prepare for the busy months ahead, at Magpies we encourage you to stop, take a breath and take note of another lesser-known event.
Wednesday, September 21 is the International Day of Peace, a day the United Nations website describes as a time “devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and peoples.” World peace is a lofty goal — one that often seems impossible, but something worth striving for nonetheless. And we believe peace begins at home. Here are a few ways we suggest spreading love and understanding to those around you.
Create Blessing Bags.
We’ve all felt the inner turmoil that comes with sitting in a car, avoiding eye contact with the person asking for food, money or work. You want to help, but there’s only so much you can do. A blessing bag is a simple, inexpensive way to make a difference. Take a gallon-sized zip-top bag and fill it with items such as toothpaste, non-perishable snacks, a new pair of socks, baby wipes and even a $5 bill. The next time you come across an individual in need, you have something to give them. The kind gesture will mean a lot to the recipient, and we bet you’ll find yourself experiencing a little inner peace, too.
Educate Little Ones About the World Around Them.
We often warn children not to stare when they encounter people who look or speak differently than they do. And, while proper manners are important, we sometimes risk them missing out on educational opportunities. Make an effort to teach them about what’s out there. Prepare themed meals focused on particular countries and share information about the people who live there. Consider attending cultural festivals, many of which are free. Teach them about how people handle certain disabilities. If they have questions, answer them. And encourage them to learn more. They’ll likely learn that, while a person might not look or act like they do, they’re the same on the inside.
Volunteer Your Time.
With so many stories out there revolving around terrorist attacks, refugee issues, poverty and the like, it’s common to feel helpless when it comes to making a difference. But as we mentioned earlier, peace begins at home. Find a cause that’s close to your heart, and get involved. Whether you’re giving up a few hours each week — or even every other month or so — you can bring change. The best part? The opportunities are endless. From international aid, to animal assistance and local homelessness issues, if there’s a need, there’s probably an organization working to fix it. VolunteerMatch.org is a great place to start!