It was coming up to the September International Day of Peace when all people around the globe were asked to hold the vision of a peaceful world. Mrs Walker, the teacher of Class 6, was explaining to the children about how our thoughts are very powerful – and that if we think peaceful thoughts and imagine everyone in the world living happily together, then it will really help to make that happen...
Mrs Walker wanted the children to create a Peace display for the school hall – she had the idea of creating lots of Peace Doves – ever since the story of Noah and the great flood when the dove had brought back the olive leaf to show that the flood waters were going down, the dove had been used a symbol of God’s love and peace. The spirit of God was often symbolised as a dove.
So all of Class 6 began to get busy thinking of what their dove would look like and what materials they may need to make it. Mrs Walker said she would choose the most special dove to go in the centre of the display. She had also cut out a few plain doves for those who preferred to use them.
Ben sat there thinking for a little while before getting up. In his mind he was imagining the dove flying back to Noah in the story and how excited and happy everyone on the ark must have felt to see it fly back with the sprig of olive held in its beak. It made him feel warm and tingly on the inside to think of it!
He was suddenly brought out of his little day dream by some raised voices beside him. Charlie and Rebecca were arguing over the coloured tissue paper they wanted to use. There wasn’t as much white tissue paper as they both needed and Rebecca was insisting that she had got it first. Quite an argument was brewing. Ben looked at the tissue paper Rebecca was holding and noticed that it was a few layers thick. 'Look,' he said, 'Why don’t you peel back the layers and then there may be enough for both of you.' Charlie reluctantly agreed that he would be happy with that and so they carefully separated the layers and both carried in with their doves.
As Ben wandered over to where the card and paint was stored he noticed that Emily was sitting at her table with tears silently rolling down her cheeks. Emily often found school work challenging – she felt nothing worked out well for her and soon gave up when it went wrong. She had begun to cut out her dove but had cut too far into one of the wings and it did look rather lopsided. He stopped to give some comfort and encouragement to Emily and as he looked at her lopsided dove he imagined what a real dove looked like in flight. 'I know,' he said, 'You could change the shape of both wings to make it look as if it were flying upwards – I think that may work.' And he showed her what he meant and began to cut the first wing for her. Gratefully she saw what he meant and with his words of encouragement she blew her nose, wiped away her tears and carried on with her dove.
As Ben continued his quest to get the card and paint for his dove, he passed Thomas who was carefully carrying his pot of white paint to his table. Just then Jodie, who was always dashing around the class room at top speed, leaped her from her chair completely knocking into poor Thomas. The pot of white paint went all down Thomas’s smart school jumper. 'You Idiot, Jodie!' he cried angrily, 'Why can’t you ever look where you’re going! Look at my jumper – my mum’s going to kill me!' And instinctively his fist raised in the air ready to get his own back on Jodie.
'Hey now, hang on.' said Ben, 'If we get it sponged off quickly it may be ok.' And he grabbed Thomas’s raised hand and dragged him to the toilets where together they wiped the paint down with lots of paper towels. It was still a bit messy but not half as bad as it had been. As they wiped it down Ben jokingly described Jodie as a human whirl wind and they began to imagine how they would draw her as a cartoon character. By the time they got back into the class room they were laughing so much that Jodie, who was sheepishly and nervously waiting for them to come back, relaxed with relief and surprise.
But Ben’s heart then sank as he heard Mrs Walker say they all had two minutes left before they must start to clear up. He hadn’t even started his dove! He picked up one of the white doves that Mrs Walker had cut out, but all he had time to do was draw in a little eye on each side of the head.
When all was cleared away Mrs Walker looked at all the beautiful doves the children had made to decide which was the special one to go in the centre. She was always surprised at how creative Class 6 was and they hadn’t let her down. The doves were all shapes and sizes, tissue paper designs catching the eye, so many colours and delicate touches. Only one dove was very plain – Ben’s stood out amongst the rest. He looked down at his feet, rather embarrassed that he had done so little.
'Well,' said Mrs Walker, 'The dove that I’m going to choose to go in the centre is..........this one!' And Class 6 gasped in surprise as she picked out Bens plain and simple dove. 'This dove best demonstrates what Peace day is all about. Although all that Ben has done is to put two eyes on the dove, I think they represent his own two eyes that have seen who needed help today in the classroom. Ben has been so kind and thoughtful and given practical help to those who needed it. This is how we will make the world a more peaceful place, by being loving and kind in our own lives, in lots of little ways.'
And so to his great surprise she asked Ben to place his dove in the centre of the display – and everyone clapped and cheered. Ben had never felt so proud!
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