A New Friend
weekly meeting of the Better World Kids Team is now
called to order!" Ahmed typed on his laptop. In
their own homes all across the planet, the Better World Kids tapped in their club's worldwide web address
onto their computers, pressed ENTER, and suddenly
appeared together IN Cyberspace.
After they had finished hugging each other, the
kids noticed a beautiful humming sound drifting
through the misty void. They knew exactly what
Sure enough, in a moment they saw Harmony, the
Spirit of Kindness softly gliding towards them.
They had discovered a long time ago that she had
been responsible for miraculously bringing them
together. And they just loved the meetings when
she joined them on their adventures as their Cyberguide.
But even when they didn't actually see her on
their journeys, they knew she was always looking
over them, keeping them safe in cyberspace.
All the Kids ran towards Harmony and began to
hug her. Then the Kids noticed a new kid cowering
behind her, staring with wide eyes at the cybervoid
the other Kids had come to know so well.
the new kid exclaimed as he looked up at them
and recognized a familiar face.
Sunanda exclaimed and reached out for her friend's
Pierre nervously looked around.
okay," Sunanda reassured him. "I know this place
seems strange, but Harmony makes sure we only
connect to Peace-Friendly sites. We're perfectly
Pierre wasn't totally convinced. But he took Sunanda's
hand and stepped forward to join the others.
this is my friend, Pierre, from France," Sunanda
said to the group.
Pierre!" the kids said together.
Pierre began to forget all about his fears.
Harmony smiled. "Pierre has something exciting
to share with you all, today," she said in her
lovely sing-song voice. "He's going to lead you
all on an adventure to learn about the Appeal
of the Nobel Laureates."
Pierre's eyes widened. He still looked a little
scared, but he felt a little proud, and that made
your adventure," Harmony laughed and hugged them
you, Harmony!" the Kids all exclaimed as she faded
into the mist.
A Noble Nobel Appeal
"What's Harmony talking about?" José asked as she disappeared.
Everyone waited for a joke to follow; José loved
to make jokes. Sure enough, they weren't disappointed.
know 'peal' means ringing of the bells," José
started. "Is 'a peal of no bells' an unsolvable
puzzle, like the sound of a single hand clapping?"
Kids thought it was a pretty punny joke. But most
of the others weren't exactly sure what Nobel
Laureates were or what today's adventure was going
to be about, either, so they didn't have a comeback
Laureates are the people who've won Nobel
Prizes!" Ling exclaimed.
Desmond Tutu!" Jamal pointed out.
Mother Teresa," Erin added.
Pierre said. "Before Mother Teresa died, she and
all of the other Peace Prize winners signed a
special appeal that us Kids can help spread around
the Kids said together. They loved getting involved
in important peacemaking-activities, and this
sounded like it was a BIG one.
all know how hard it can be sometimes to have
'peace' ..." Pierre began. "There are ALWAYS going
to be conflicts..."
HAPPEN!" Johnny sighed.
how we deal with those conflicts that matters..."
Sunanda pointed out.
can fight and argue ... with neither side listening
to the other," Maya began.
we can really try to find a solution so that both
sides can win," Michiko piped in.
win-win solution!" Sol exclaimed.
Pierre said. "There are 'tools' that we can learn
to use to be more peaceful, so that we don't let
our emotions make us say and do things that get
us into trouble."
can learn conflict resolution..." said Ling.
peer mediation..." Ahmed added.
listening, dialogue, and negotiation are important
skills to learn for conflict resolution and peer
mediation..." Erin said.
Pierre continued. "Education is the key to changing
our world into a culture of peace. That's why
all of the Nobel Peace Prize winners signed an
appeal asking the world's leaders to dedicate
the New Millennium to help educate kids with tools
for peace and nonviolence."
New Millennium sure hasn't started off on the
right foot, so far!" Jamal sighed.
we need all the peace we can get!" all the kids
are the future, and if we grow up knowing how
to work out our problems peacefully, we'll find
peaceful ways to deal with the grown-up world,
too." Pierre continued.
meanwhile, the grown-ups will change while we're
learning to be peaceful, too," Ling pointed out.
we'll help teach them!" Ahmed said, looking up
from his laptop. As the club secretary he was
typing as fast as he could to take good notes.
all learn together!" Maya declared.
Pierre continued explaining, "So the Appeal of
the Nobel Laureates joined forces with UNESCO..."
part of the UN, right?" Michiko asked.
it's the United Nations Educational, Scientific
and Cultural Organization, which has its headquarters
in Paris..." Erin explained.
right," Pierre said, "UNESCO ... Hey, what's happening?!"
He grabbed onto Sunanda's arm as the Better World Kids suddenly found they were standing in front
of a big building.
A Trip to Paris
at UNESCO's website," Ahmed announced as he finished
tapping into his computer. He stuck it on standby,
shoved it into its case and draped the strap over
his shoulder. "Come on!" he laughed.
The kids strolled together down the tree-lined
street towards the UNESCO building at 7, place
de Fontenoy in Paris, France.
The Better World Kids toured the building and then
sat down together at a cafe down the street from
Pierre sighed happily, and while the kids munched
on croissants, he continued the story he had begun
before they had visited the UNESCO site.
the Appeal of the Nobel Laureates and UNESCO convinced
the United Nations to declare the first decade
of the 21st century as the "International Decade
for a Culture of Peace and Nonviolence for the
Children of the World..."
a mouthful!" Ling laughed.
it's a great mouthful!" the Kids chimed in together.
Pierre laughed with the kids. Then he continued.
"They worked hard to have the Appeal signed by
100 million people all around the world for the
year 2000. They presented these signatures to
the United Nations during a special Millennium
Assembly in September 2000..."
Pierre lifted his croissant up to his mouth, took
a bite, and then almost started choking. The cafe
and the street leading to UNESCO Headquarters
were starting to fade away. His eyes widened as
they suddenly found themselves sitting in the
General Assembly Hall at the United Nations.
Dawn of a New Millennium
guard was leaning over the Kids with a wastebasket
held in his hand. "You kids can't eat in here!"
he whispered motioning for them to deposit their
food in the wastebasket. Each of the kids stuck
the rest of their croissants into their mouths
and held up their empty hands innocently. The
guard rolled his eyes and checked the badges the
kids had pinned to their shirts.
PASS FOR THE MILLENNIUM ASSEMBLY" he read. He
rolled his eyes yet again as he walked away with
the empty waste-basket.
Pierre looked down at the Badges that had somehow
appeared on their shirts.
we're back in the year 2000 at the Millennium
Assembly!" Pierre laughed as he jumped up from
his chair. He had completely adjusted to cyber-traveling
and he was thoroughly enjoying himself now.
wasn't that the President of the United States?!"
Johnny gasped, pointing at the stage.
that was my Prime Minister back in 2000!" Sol
Each of the Better World Kids pointed out their country's
former leader sitting attentively in the chamber.
the Millennium Assembly brought the most Heads
of State together in one place, ever!" Pierre
They watched as the Appeal of the Nobel Laureates
was presented to the Assembly along with bags
and bags of signed pledges.
The great hall of the General Assembly started
to fade and the Better World Kids found themselves
back in cyberspace again.
with 100 million signatures, you would think it
would have shown the leaders of the world that
the PEOPLE want PEACE and KINDNESS!" José exclaimed.
the world's leaders haven't listened, yet," Pierre
sighed. "But millions of people all around the
world are trying in little and big ways to make
this world a better place. And young people like
me are using a kid's version of the Appeal - called
the Better World Pledge - to help kids stand up and
say they want a more peaceful world."
The Kids were all eager to read the Better World Pledge
so they could sign it, too.
can get people to sign this for the International
Day of Peace on September 21," Michiko exclaimed.
on October 24 on United Nations Day!" Ahmed added.
Earth Day!" Maya pointed out.
of those dates are wonderful times to hold campaigns
to get kids and adults to sign the Better World Pledge.
But even more important than signing it and spreading
it, is living it," Pierre reminded them.
"Every kind thing that we do helps the world to
be more peaceful. We can find lots of little ways
to put this pledge into action..."
our daily lives, you mean..." Johnny said, "like
how we talk and act with our families, our friends,
our classmates, and with our neighbors ..."
stopping to think about how our actions affect
others and the environment," Ling added.
Suddenly the Better World Kids saw some giant words
floating in the cyberhaze. They swam closer to
have a better look and started to read the Better World Pledge together...
The Better World Pledge
pledge in my daily life, in my family, my school,
my community & my country to:
Be Kind - I pledge to respect people that
are different, and treat people and animals with
kindness and fairness.
Reject violence - I pledge to find peaceful
ways to work out my problems without using violent
actions or words.
Share with others - I pledge to share my time
to help out in my community to make life better
Listen to understand. I pledge to allow others
to express their point of view; to find win-win
solutions to problems so that both sides can win;
and 'agree to disagree' if we can't come to an
Preserve the planet - I pledge to practice
good environmental habits like recycling and helping
to protect the earth and its habitats.
Rediscover community - I pledge to do my best
to help my family, friends and community to get
Just as they finished reading, they heard Ahmed's
laptop beeping -- the batteries were running out.
A Kind Act A Day…
sighed. "Is it time to go home already?"
you can join us again next week for our next meeting,"
the Better World Kids assured him.
Before they adjourned, the kids all agreed that
when they got home they would try to get their
schools to sign the Better World Pledge.
get our churches and synagogues and mosques and
temples to sign it..."
get grocery stores and department stores to include
flyers in every bag for their customers..."
write Letters To The Editor of our newspapers
urging our communities to sign the Pledge..."
write our Mayors and Governors and ask them to
declare Proclamations urging all citizens to participate..."
convince our communities to stop what they're
doing each day at 12 Noon and join in the universal
wish: MAY PEACE PREVAIL ON EARTH!"
But most importantly, the Better World Kids decided
to try to find one kind thing each day that they
could do to make their daily lives more peaceful.
Then, in the twinkling of an eye, the Better World Kids were all back in their own homes.
for inviting me to join your Better World Team," each
of the Better World Kids saw on their computer screens
as Pierre typed from his home in Paris.
Peace Prevail On Earth," each of the Better World Kids typed with a smile, and the adventure was
officially adjourned. Until the next cyber-meeting
of the Better World Kids Team, of course.
Better World Pledge
Better World Kids Adventure
© 1999-2014 Robert Alan Silverstein
2014 Vineet Siddhartha