Pacifist and author Colman McCarthy spent today talking to students at Girls Preparatory School about ways to be peacemakers in a violent world — from raising loving children and reaching out to people in need to staging non-violent strikes that can move the balance of power.
“Nobody should graduate from high school without staging one student strike,” he said during an address peppered with humor and stories of his work teaching peace. “You learn a lot about power that way.”
For the observance of Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday today, teachers and administrators wanted to bring someone to campus who would honor the famed activist’s life and work, said teacher David Cook.
“The idea of all the things we study, peace is the most important,” he said. “Why not teach peace?”
Staff Photo by Meghan Brown Colman McCarthy, director of the Center for Teaching Peace in Washington D.C., speaks to Girls Preparatory School students Catherine Garvey, left, and Taylor Dickinson, right, before a lecture today at the school. The former Washington Post columnist teaches peace studies and was at GPS in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Mr. McCarthy, a Washington Post columnist for nearly 30 years, runs the Center for Teaching Peace in Washington D.C. Though he teaches peace at several high schools and colleges, it can be easy to lose hope, Mr. McCarthy said.
“Mother Teresa told me one time, ‘Don’t ever worry about being successful; worry about being faithful,” he said. “In teaching peace, if you measure success by results, you’re likely to be frustrated.”
Linda Mines, head of the history department at GPS and the Hamilton County historian, headed up the committee that brought Mr. McCarthy to campus. She said she knows not everyone will be comfortable with his message.
“Whether you agree or not, this makes for wonderful fodder for discussion,” she said. “The greatest learning occurs when people are passionate about what they’re hearing, whether for or against.”