February 18, 2004 - The Brown and White: "Very few of us are called on to do great things, [but] all of us are called on to do small things greatly." says Peace Activitist Colman McCarthy

Peace Corps Online: Peace Corps News: Headlines: February 2004 Peace Corps Headlines: February 18, 2004 - The Brown and White: "Very few of us are called on to do great things, [but] all of us are called on to do small things greatly." says Peace Activitist Colman McCarthy

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"Very few of us are called on to do great things, [but] all of us are called on to do small things greatly." says Peace Activitist Colman McCarthy

"Very few of us are called on to do great things, [but] all of us are called on to do small things greatly." says Peace Activitist Colman McCarthy

Hippie revival? Peace comes to school
By Andrew Rosenbloom
Lifestyle Writer

Last Tuesday evening, renowned peace activist Colman McCarthy spoke to a crowd of Lehigh students and community members about the importance of peace education, a cause to which McCarthy has dedicated his life.

McCarthy was a teacher at three universities (Maryland, American, and Georgetown Law) and three District of Columbia high schools. He speaks to spread his message of peace, which he believes will occur when the world realizes that it is the only real solution to many problems.

McCarthy teaches that only true love for the world can lead to peace. He calls for commitment to prayer, non-violence and community service. By using love as a command to action, we can learn to share the wealth and knowledge we are blessed with, he said.

A serious problem lies in the fact that our governments act as a roadblock to achieving this unity, McCarthy said. It is extremely difficult to organize a society of peace and sharing when it’s up to our politicians to decide where money goes, he said.

McCarthy points out that out of 25 western nations, the United States ranks 24th in percent of gross national product shared with the poor. The amount of money that the government budgets to the military per day matches the amount given to the Peace Corps in one year.

The appropriation of funds toward military purposes severely hinders worldwide acceptance of peace, but that doesn’t mean the cause is hopeless, McCarthy said.

“It seems ignorant not to question what is happening around us,” said Alexandra Ganim, ’07, after McCarthy’s lecture. “I wish that people would try to understand non-violence instead of scoffing at it.”

McCarthy sees laws and rules as necessary only when people fail to live with loving intentions. While he obviously cannot abolish legal systems, McCarthy does as much as he can to free himself and those around him from rules and restrictions.

How precisely? All of McCarthy’s classes require no homework, quizzes, papers, or exams. Grades, McCarthy feels, are “academic violence.”

“People learn in one of two ways – either by fear or desire,” he said. “I have chosen to do away with grades and homework, and teach by pure desire.”

Many of the world’s greatest teachers dating back to Socrates practiced this philosophy, which McCarthy sees as essential to any real education.

McCarthy’s solution to the problem of violence and uncooperation in the world is to actively teach people how to be peaceful. Effective reform must come from below, so he must reach the masses to see significant change.

McCarthy’s organization, the Center for Teaching Peace, encourages schools to add peace programs to their curriculums at all levels. The center designs syllabi for high schools and colleges, publishes anthologies, and provides reading lists and accompanying materials for teachers and professors.

Peace programs in schools teach children and college students the ways of non-violence and the essential concepts of peaceful living. The courses encourage students to volunteer their service and knowledge for harmonious living.

On behalf of the center, McCarthy speaks at many colleges across the nation encouraging students to demand the creation of a peace curriculum. At his lecture Tuesday, McCarthy said this area of study is necessary for Lehigh’s environment, especially after the university announced a diversity initiative last year.

There is only one peace course taught at Lehigh, a freshman seminar called “Considering Peace and Non-Violence.” Professor Addison Bross teaches the course using materials published by McCarthy’s Center for Teaching Peace. The course focuses on issues such as anti-war philosophy and the effectiveness of nonviolence as a means of protest.

Unfortunately, one such class isn’t enough.

“If you can’t get peace classes, organize a student strike,” McCarthy said. Besides, no one should ever graduate from college without organizing at least one strike.”

One student at the lecture raised a point about how difficult it is to add such unusual curriculum when the administration of the school is so conservative.

“Tell them to conserve peace,” McCarthy said.

“Peace is not right wing or left wing … it’s the whole bird.”

McCarthy encourages students to simplify their lives and live in peace, help others, keep their money away from the tobacco, alcohol and meat industries, and do what they can to influence politics. McCarthy said the best thing to do is just to start doing.

“Very few of us are called on to do great things,” McCarthy said.

“All of us are called on to do small things greatly.”

These words struck the students in the audience most directly.

“It was interesting how McCarthy said to incorporate non-violence into every aspect of your life,” Hailey Witt, ’07, said.

“You shouldn’t waste your talents, and even if everyone cannot do a big thing, everyone can do something.”

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Story Source: The Brown and White

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