The Power of Peace. We could all use a little right? What's the definition of peace to you though? Is it a quiet lake? Maybe a nice book to read on a weekend morning? Well for some, peace like that seems absolutely unattainable. Life circumstances, addiction, crime, desperation feelings of abandonment and the end result of ending up with the wrong people in your life can lead to a life that no one ever imagined. I don't know of anyone born with the dream of one day becoming part of the prison system and being part of the revolving door that seems to hold so many, for so long and give them little or no chance to find their way out, let alone correctional measures to reshape their lives and turn into the problem. But, day after day....people end up there. If you know my story, you know it could easily have been me through my years of drinking and it's only by an act of grace I didn't end up part of it. Today, I try to be a small part of the solution for those who are behind bars. It's not much going to the county jail once a week to tutor reading, but if I can connect with one person during the time I have there to help, it will be a success.
There are those however, who can reach people who are incarcerated on a much bigger level. I mean agents of change who've been down a bumpy road for a while themselves and then found their way to recover from their haunts and take that message to those who most desperately need to hear it in the prisons. Meet Kit Cummings. Kit is an author, a teacher and visionary who's founded the Power of Peace Project and he's bringing his message to Muskegon October 14th. His first speaking engagement is open to the public and will be help at the New Life Christian Center at 10a. The location is 1624 Hoyt Street. From there, he heads off to Brooks Correctional for a discussion with the inmates there to talk about working to establish what he has in some of the countries most difficult prisons.....peace among the inmates which hopefully can lead to actual change while they are in doing time and keep them from having to go back. This isn't just a story about a guy coming to speak to prisoners though. How about we reach people BEFORE they get into trouble?
On Monday October 15th the message will be brought to Fruitport High School and Muskegon Middle School. The Power of Peace begins in the formative years. The years when we start to see our groups defined, our personalities formed and the entire "who's cool" mentality gets set. What if our young people had the chance to think differently? What if they were given the tools they need to understand the power of building each other up instead of finding ways to tease or bully? What if the kid who's buried in the back of the room doing his art was celebrated as much as the star quarterback of the school football team? What if the understanding that our true power lies in the diversity we all share was known to the next generation earlier and we could lay to rest what sets people off to a life of problems which could lead to prison? Well, all those "what if's" lead to true change and to help that happen even for a few is a remarkable thing.
Kit spent a few minutes with me this morning from his home in Atlanta to talk about his work and his passion, and yes...we sure found some common ground in our pasts. Take a listen to his message here.
I remember back in the day. The guest speaker would come to school and tell us all the horror stories of their drinking and drugging. We even got the biggest and loudest one year, Toma! He came right to school and told us that junkies would actually shoot up in their eye. Hopefully, it grabbed a kid or two, but it sure didn't me. I was going to be the alcoholic and that was that. Today, Kit is offering a better message and one based not on "scared straight" but one more on binding all of us together to see the best in all of us. How do we find the "least of our brothers" and lift them up? What does it take from all of us to forgive? How do we all grow from extending peace instead of judgement? It's a message that should carry far and wide, and we're very fortunate to have Kit coming back to Muskegon to bring his thoughts on all of it. If you'd like to learn more about Kit, please, visit his website below.