DC Kids Get Diplomacy


I spent my morning meeting kids at Barnard Elementary School in D.C.’s Petworth neighborhood. I talked a bit about the problems I care about and learned a good deal about the problems they see as relevant to them.
It turns out that violence, pollution, and crime matter a lot to the Barnard kids, both locally and globally. And – who’d have figured – it takes teamwork in Petworth to solve problems just like it takes teamwork to solve problems at the global scale.
The kids learned about diplomacy at the United Nations. We made a circle, joined hands across the circle to make a “human knot,” and then tried to untangle ourselves. The lesson: just because you’re strong and have a loud voice doesn’t mean that yelling or pulling hardest will solve problems.
We learned that the United Nations – and the world – works best when we work together and recognize that we’re all in the same boat.
It’s amazing how many of the solutions we need today are intuitive. Teamwork, active listening, not bullying, and humility really are second grade-friendly concepts.
Is it depressing that the current administration doesn’t get it? It sure is. But the fact that kids understand these concepts so easily does give me hope.
— Scott Paul


6 comments on “DC Kids Get Diplomacy

  1. Carroll says:

    Nice, worthwhile.
    But let’s not forget that their hope won’t have anywhere to take off from if we don’t fix a few things right now.


  2. Marcia says:

    Hope seems to come at the end of wars when the blood-letting ceases and in the mids’t of pain and ruin the rebuilding begins.
    Hope was what Rooselvet offered to a population crushed by the Great Depressionbut I shudder to try to imagine what it might take to restore hope in our time. As you say there are the children, but mankind has never hesitated to sacrifice them and wrap them in a flag.


  3. noel says:

    Children know nothing about democracy.
    Most americans, Ron PAUL maybe, don’t know what democracy is about because they don’t care and they don’t vote.
    Children copy their parents and just like JohnN, I am interrested to know what kind of democracy these children used to deal with the classroom bully ?


  4. JohnH says:

    Scott, just curious: did you discuss how to engage in diplomacy with the classroom bully? Their insights might be useful for foreign and American politicians trying to deal with the Bush administration.


  5. karenk says:

    I’m reminded of the very funny but all too true book by Robert Fulgam, “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten”


  6. ... says:

    kids are the ones with the wisdom, if only we didn’t grow up to lose most all of it.. kids are our future as well.. where is the responsibility from the corporations and governments of the world towards them and the whole world by extension? until the bottom line becomes one of people and enviroment, instead of the dollar, we will continue to suffer at the hands of corporations and gov’ts who put economic concerns ahead of the children of our future.. it is all we have.


Add your comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *