LANTERNS FOR PEACE:

YOU'VE GOT

TO BE TAUGHT

8 | 8 |16

by Christine Henke Mueller

On Saturday, August 6, 2016, guest writer Christine Henke Mueller attended the annual Peace Action Wisconsin Lanterns For Peace ceremony, the traditional lighting and floating of Japanese paper lanterns to commemorate the nuclear holocaust.  This year's focus was on connecting global violence to local gun violence.

As a 4th grade teacher at The Prairie School in Racine, Christine is preparing for the new school year.  She took this opportunity at Lanterns For Peace to reflect on why she does what she does, her poem building off of Rodger's and Hammerstein's song "You've Got to be Taught" from South Pacific (on left).

You've got to be taught

There is a price

To hate and fear,

A cost to all we do.

You've got to be taught

There is a value

From year to year,

attached to every gesture, thought, smile, promise, word.

It's got to be drummed

Listen to the beat of the drum for the lives that are lost,

In your dear little ear

Hear the voices of those you pass.

You've got to be carefully taught.

 

You've got to be taught to be afraid

There is a challenge to waging peace

Of people whose eyes are oddly made,

To place the poor

And people whose skin is a diff'rent shade,

and all those denied

You've got to be carefully taught.

To stand on equal footing.

 

You've got to be taught before it's too late,

To be wise.

Before you are six or seven or eight,

Stand up and be strong!

To hate all the people your relatives hate,

To wage peace against all that is wrong. And so:

You've got to be carefully taught!

 

And so I teach

To love and accept

From one year on and into the next.

 

I raise one child after the other with tiny seeds of wisdom placed

Carefully

Into their hearts

 

I beat the drum and hold the light

and wipe away the hate that holds our wisdom back.

 

Carefully,

 

Before it is too late.

Photo credit: Sarah LittleRedfeather. Used with permission.

Photo credit: Sarah LittleRedfeather. Used with permission.