To Be More like Children

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And he [Jesus] said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:3 (NIV) Children are creative. I have a three-year-old cousin who loves to color and when he colors, he ignores the “rules” and always colors outside of the lines. He uses the colors he wants, not focusing on the design of the overall picture, but instead on the colors themselves. Putting all of his creativity into his work, what he has in the end is nothing short of a masterpiece.

Some of the artwork made ​​by children in San Nicolás.

Some of the artwork made ​​by children in San Nicolás.

Children have a great capacity for using their imaginations; stones become arepas (or flatbread) and for children who love to pretend to cook, mud becomes soup. They can be completely happy playing outdoors, sitting on the sand imagining a completely different make-believe world.

I think that if we are going to work towards developing a culture of peace we need to be more like children– incredibly creative and having a vision of what is possible even when all we see around us is destruction. It has been almost three months since I arrived in the communities of San Nicolas and Cazucá in the municipality of Soacha (just outside of Bogotá). And in these communities there are often public notices warning of “social cleansing activities,” which terrify people in the communities; frequently we hear stories of people being killed; women are victims of domestic violence; and many people crying out for peace and justice everyday…and in the midst of it all I wonder- what can we do? Someone once said that the world continues to be violent as a result of the lack of imagination, and the truth is that we need to begin imagining alternatives to this reality that encompasses us. Creativity is the ability to believe, to generate ideas, and to conceive of something new. It is a gift that all of us as human beings have, as men and women made in the image and likeness of God. The Holy Spirit lives in all of us, the spirit of the creation of God. And we are called to use this gift to benefit others. Creativity is indispensible for those of us who want to work together with God in the creation of a world of peace. The current state of the world demands that we develop creative alternative solutions. My prayer is that God awakens our imaginations and puts on our hearts creative initiatives in order to build the true peace we are longing for; that we will strive to be a creative force, crafts people and artists designing a peace that is truly a masterpiece.

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