Peace project finds kids view nature as best way to relax

Peace may come at a price, but Kathleen Arnason, a Victoria woman who started the project Fountain of Peace, is a few steps closer to finding out what that price really is.

Students at Kelset Elementary in Saanich were the most progressive-thinking kids in the country, says Fountain of Peace activist, Kathleen Arnason, who returned this week.

Peace may come at a price, but Kathleen Arnason, a Victoria woman who started the project Fountain of Peace, is a few steps closer to finding out what that price really is — thanks to a few Canadian children who are guiding her quest.

Arnason started the project six year ago as an initiative to find out how Canadian youth, from kindergarten to Grade 9, felt about peace.

“Gandhi said, ‘if we really want peace, we must start with the children,’ so it was the logical jumping point for the project,” says Arnason.

In 10 weeks, Arnason travelled to nearly every Canadian province and spoke to almost 10,000 students. She closely interviewed 400 youth for her own studies, and the results were clear. Nearly 90 per cent of youth viewed peace as the absence of war, and 80 per cent of youth achieved “peace” by getting out in nature — the other 20 per cent was split between spending time with family and with sports.

“If this is where our youth find solace, that makes a powerful statement about what we need to prioritize, and what we may be lacking in our own lives,” says Arnason.

“Peace isn’t just the absence of something, but what’s in place of it. Mother Theresa said ‘peace begins with a smile,’ and that’s like a pebble dropping in the water. The moment these kids realized the impact they can have, their faces light up.” M

To learn more, visit fountainofpeace.com.

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