Backwards day turned all that around, so everything was from Z to A.
I was mostly indifferent to it. My last name starts with a C, so I usually fell in the top 3rd of the class when we lined up. For backwards day, I was in the bottom third. In 6th grade, I think I ended up about 7th or 8th in line. There were 30 kids in my class, so you can do the math to see where I ended up when we reversed the order.
Then I met Beth A, the girl in the first desk whose name was always read first for attendance and who led the class in line to the cafeteria for lunch and assemblies. She was first in line when we lined up alphabetically during a fire drill. She was first in line in the morning when we lined up to get into the class room.
Being first was very important to Beth A. Beth A was a bossy little brat just because her name always made her first in line.
Cynthia V was always last.
So backwards day. We sat in our same desks in our same places. We just turned them around. Our teacher had a desk in the front of the room and a table in the back. He sat at that table in the back for backwards day. And we all turned our desks to face that table.
I couldn't see Beth A anymore. I did see Cynthia V. She had dark hair. She did raise her hand a lot. She knew a lot of answers...she was smart. When we lined up, she just walked at the head of the line. She didn't care if anyone acted up or messed around...the hall monitors wrote slips for those kids. Cynthia just walked to wherever the line was headed, and we walked there too.
I saw Beth A every day. But on backwards day, she wasn't in front of me anymore and she faded. And when things got back to normal...when we turned back to the front and became A to Z again...the veneer was broken for me. Beth A became just a little girl who took her prestige and self worth from her position in class, made possible because some teachers like order and order is often best served by alphabetizing.
Cynthia V was virtually invisible to me until backwards day. Once I saw her, she became real. But then when things got back to normal...when we turned back to the front and became A to Z again...she was still there. She was still smart and had a lot of answers. She had a sweet laugh. And she became my friend from that backwards day and on through high school.
Intended or not, backwards day taught me something valuable. It taught me that there are a lot of people who get left out simply because we can't see them as we look forward. Backwards day revealed one of those people to me.
I knew about changing circumstances by the time I reached 6th grade. I had mine changed by divorce. Then my 6th grade teacher changed them for me with backwards day.
Those two lessons, and the natural course of maturity, helped me to understand how to begin to change my own circumstances.
You might be wondering what this has to do with peace. Or maybe you've figured out my message on this 8th Blog Blast Day. It's really very simple.
We all impact others as we move through our lives. We know about that impact because we see a lot of it happening in front of us. We impact our families...parents, siblings, our own children. We impact our co-workers and our friends. We impact the kid at the fast food counter who reminds us that we probably want fries with that burger.
But there is also an impact of which we may not be as readily aware. It's the impact we have on people we're not seeing because we're not turning our heads. We're not looking left, or right, or behind us. We don't consciously intend to ignore them, but they get ignored anyway because we become so narrowly focused in our perspective.
Peace begins within each of us. We find it. We nurture it. We settle into it. We live in it. We rush back to it when something disturbs us.
Our awareness of it can generate ripples that spread in all directions, as long as we don't selfishly keep it all for ourselves. Or rather, as long as we consciously make an effort to share it.
And finally, just after two bells at first watch on Blog Blast Eve, 21:04 hours, or 9:04pm, I've discovered what my 2011 Peace Globe should be. It's a thing that has one of the most positive impacts on people I've ever known. Anyone can do it. It takes no preparation.
It spreads peace ripples. And I remember so vividly now the first time I saw Cynthia V with hers.
Dona Nobis Pacem