She’s been on Earth for a little less than eight years and stands barely four feet tall. Yet her perspective of the world is clearer than anyone I know. It’s the gift of innocence married with a sweetness that could melt the coldest of hearts. My eldest daughter is a butterfly, cruising at various altitudes throughout the day; never landing in one place for too long but bringing a smile to those fortunate enough to set eyes upon her.
The night before last she had an idea. As we were falling asleep in bed she told me of her plan to end war anywhere in the world. Normally, I’m all ears anyway – particularly as slumber draws nearer to her eyes, her breath settles into a rhythm and her words turn silly, then inaudible. But on this night, I paid even closer attention. She had clearly been thinking about a subject well beyond her years and sleep was further off than usual.
Sometime between gym class and homework, or perhaps karate class and a play date a thought occurred to her. She determined her strategy to end war – all war – as a grownup. She would strike out around the globe and speak to everyone with a family member fighting in a war and ask them one simple question. Do you love them? When they answered “yes” – and what family member wouldn’t? – she would tell them to invite them home. That way, when I’m done talking to everyone, there will be no one left to fight.
It was an ambitious plan, I confided, but it just might work. Especially if my butterfly was doing the asking.
Last night, the four of us were playing and talking in her room before bedtime. She stopped playing for a moment and went somewhere. We’re never really sure where. It was just one of those places she goes. Then she looked up and asked whether I recalled her plan to save the world from war. Of course, baby. Why? Because it occured to her that someone who was fighting might be willing to die for his country because he felt it was honorable. Or that the thing he was fighting for was worth dying for if it meant saving the country.
It’s complicated, honey. But you’re on to why. But I still wouldn’t give up if I were you.
I’m not, daddy. But I think it should start small. How so?
Well, tomorrow is Martin Luther King’s birthday and since he stood for peace then I think that every year on his birthday the world should make a pinky promise to stop fighting for one day.
Pinky promise diplomacy. Her mother and I just nodded as she went back to playing. How I wish we could visit the place she goes.