Peacemaking with teenagers in Kiev, Ukraine, and What's that dark cloud above the Friendship Tre
From March 4-6, sixteen teenagers, five adult leaders (including me) and two youth as leaders gathered for a three day intensive workshop on Peacemaking. This event was planned down to the minute. We got up at 8am and finished each evening at 930pm. One of the first exercises was to work in groups of four or five and draw or write on newsprint something representing friendship. One group drew this tree with different colored leaves with FRIENDSHIP written on the trunk and the words HONESTY, BRAVERY, GENEROSITY, TOLERATION, UNSELFISH AND COOPERATION written on the roots in Ukrainian language. The variety of colors of leaves represents the variety of people gathered by FRIENDSHIP.
It wasn't until I looked at the photo on my laptop and turned the exposure up just a little to brighten the colors, that I noticed the dark cloud above it. It wasn't on the paper when I shot the picture. And short of draining away all the colors on the image, it won't go away. But how true it is: friendships, relationships, love, doesn't exist under sunny skies. In fact, in reverse it's what we need most when the clouds darken above.
Here's what's interesting about the group that drew the tree. They almost immediately fell into conflict. One person insisted on drawing two trees and an apple and a pear. I wasn't sure of where he was going with that, did he want these trees and the apple and pear to all be friends???? He wanted to draw a mountain also. Of course, the others in the group wanted to know what that had to do with friendship and when he turned to me for backup, I politely excused myself to take pictures. So, anyway, I came back to the group and they had decided on one tree to which they added roots, no apple or pear, but they were talking about fruit of different kinds and ended up with leaves of different colors. Of all the groups, theirs was the most coordinated effort, with a single image. And they were the ones who began with conflict.
Here's our teens and leaders: