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David O. McKay Center for Intercultural Understanding

Raising Peace

Aloha, Peacebuilding students.

Many of us want to know what we will be doing after we graduate from the Peacebuilding Program. We will soon talk more about the subject but for now, we are lucky to hear from alumni Carla Rada. She talks about her journey of how the Peacebuilding program helped her in life after school, especially how peacebuilding has helped her to be a better mother. We may not all understand what we are going to do in life or what we should do, but it is important to find that mission in life and Carla shares her advice on how to find it.

How did you come to the Peacebuilding program? What made you stay?

Coming from a place that is literally named “Peace” but is anything but peaceful, I was always intrigued by the concept. While at BYUH, I heard about this ‘new’ class being taught about conflict resolution (circa 2008) and I craved to know, and secretly argue, about what other people thought they knew about peace in the real world, so the next semester I signed up and after my first class, I was hooked. Peace is something I struggle with, because it is something so personal that might feel so unattainable for a large group, but once I learned that change can start with me, peace can start within me, then I knew that it was possible to bring peace to any situation, and like ripples in water, I can spread Peace to those around me.

Did you know what you were going to do after you finished school? Did you end up doing what you originally planned?

Since my days at BYUH, I always knew I wanted to further my education in grad school, but life has a way to lead you to different paths that you might not even be expecting. After graduating I stayed in Laie waiting for my husband to graduate BYUH. He got a job right after graduation, and a way to Utah we moved. While in Utah I was able to work in Arbinger headquarters, and also with the Digital Media department of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. But my most important role came when I got pregnant with my first baby, and a couple of years later with my second one. I could have never imagined how much becoming a Mom would change me.

I knew that during this time of my kids’ lives I wanted, and was lucky enough, to raise and take care of them during their first few years, but the desire to further my education and work in the peacebuilding area never left me. I struggled and continue to struggle with this feeling. I have to honestly say that I have had a hard time with this struggle, and I am still trying to work out and figure out what I can do to marry these ideas of who I want to be, and where I am currently at.

I don’t think moms get enough credit for what they do, whether you stay home or work. I used to be the one that would judge and look down on stay at home moms, not realizing how great, and special that calling is. I can’t see any other role in human history, which requires more knowledge and skills in conflict resolution and peacebuilding than being a parent. Generally speaking, most mothers and fathers want the best for their kids, they want to teach their kids the best way to be. Pretty soon after having a child, you will realize how important it is to be “out of the box” and teach your child to “see others as people”. Your child will learn everything about how to deal with others and the world from you, so you have to be the kind of person you want your child to be.

With all of this said, I want to emphasize as Ardeth G. Kapp said that “while that divine mission of motherhood is paramount, it is not all-inclusive.” I think it is time that as an LDS culture we get over the wrongful notion that all that women should only aspire to become a mother. This type of cultural expectation puts extreme pressure on women, who feel guilty if they cannot bear children (or are not married), or if they do want to pursue their professional life.

Parents, and especially women who decide to raise children in this world, and are/were lucky enough to be a peacebuilding student have the tools necessary to raise the next generation of peacebuilders. As cheesy as this might sound, this will have the greatest impact in our world, to bring up children who understand and practice peace.

I think the main advice I could give to all peacebuilding students, but mainly to our female students would be to never care what other people think or expect of you. We have so much pressure in this world just by being a woman, don’t care for any of it. Just make sure you are doing everything in your power to stay connected to your own expectations of yourself and that you are working towards strengthening your relationship with our Heavenly Parents, this will do more service to your own self-esteem, direction in life, and strength to carry on than anything else in this world. If you are unsure of where you stand in any of these, ask them, our Father and Mother in Heaven are so ready and willing to help you understand how they feel about you and your purpose on earth.

I think this quote says it better than I can try to:

“What will be your greatest work? What will be your most important creation? I will tell you. Your greatest work: your most important creation is and will ever be you. What kind of person will you become? By this, I do not mean what role in life will you take. I don't mean will you be a cowboy, lawyer, surfer, homemaker, engineer, computer programmer, accountant or the like. I do not refer to what kind of car you will drive; what kind of clothes you will wear; what kind of house you will live in; what kind of spouse you will marry or what kind of family will you raise. I mean, when all of that is removed and there you stand alone, who will you be? I mean, you.” –Elder Lawrence E. Corbridge