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


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