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Student Voices: Imagine

(Part of the 2nd annual Student Voices Project)

Prompt: Imagine a world where violence doesn’t exist. What does it look like? How do people resolve conflicts?

The War, the Peace, and the Councilor

Sara Heim, Grade 6, Greene Street Friends School

I thought that it would be interesting to show the different thought processes and personalities of people who live in different environments and positions. I was inspired to write this by the talk‐it‐out chairs that we had in pre‐K. I remember that we would have to sit and talk about whatever we had done, something we probably didn’t even know was wrong. It would take a maximum of five minutes to sort out the tiny issue and apologize. I think that was a good way to solve problems, for four‐year‐olds at least. I thought that maybe this strategy could be helpful on a higher scale so for my story I took the idea of the talk‐it‐out chairs and elevated it to a governmental level.

Jackson’s P.O.V. — A World of War

The window is a perfectly good form of television. My grandmother used to say that all the time. I wish I could look out the window for five minutes without being traumatized by the violence unfolding outside the foggy glass. Most boys in my grade hoped to go into the war with their fathers. They thought I was a wimp for crying at the corpses lining the road on the walk home from school. Was there something wrong with me? No, you are a perfectly fine, sensitive young man who has a kind, empathetic heart, unlike those wild hooligans. That’s what my grandmother said.

Hubert Douglas, Councilor of the Peaceful World’s P.O.V. — A World of Peace

The blue sky shone into my office, the leafy trees making it show up in streaks on the wall‐to‐wall carpeting. Early this morning somebody had come into my office and polished everything until it shone. Or maybe it was just a beautiful day. Mr. Gatris, a small man in charge of the correlations with other countries, skittered into my office.

“Um, sir, the president of Jikolis just called in with some complaints about the factory workers’ salaries over in Teoli,” he said, quite confidently for such a small man.

I nodded. “Put him on line three, please. I will deal with this.”

“Right away, yes, of course.”

I leaned back in my chair and waited for the phone to ring. The familiar tone of the intercom buzzed throughout the room.

“Mr. Douglas, Gatris has informed me that President Lovenit is on the line,” Lola, my secretary, says, her voice crackly through the speaker.

I pick up the phone. “President Lovenit! How are you? I understand you are having some disagreements with the salaries of Teoli factory workers?” I ask, not giving him time to answer my initial question.

“Hello, Councilor. Yes, I am afraid that they are not being paid enough to support their families, and I feel they deserve more for their efforts,” President Lovenit said, very professionally, I might add.

“Thank you, Mr. President, I will contact President Houlin and get back to you ASAP.”

“I would very much appreciate that, Mr. Douglas.” Let me just point out that he said everything in this monotonous tone. He was like some kind of robot. I wonder what it would be like if you went to a comedy show with him … maybe he would short circuit.

I hung up with a quick goodbye and called down to the front desk. “Hello, Lola, sorry to bother you, but could you schedule a Skype meeting with President Houlin for Thursday around 2:30 p.m.? Teoli time, of course, wouldn’t want to inconvenience anyone.”

“Of course, sir, I’ll call you with the confirmations as soon as they arrive.” Gotta love Lola.

Raina’s P.O.V. — A World of Peace

I cartwheeled over the hills, Dina chasing after me. The sun was blinding, even with my eyes squeezed shut, it seemed to burn right through my eyelids. The green grass tickled my palms as they dug into the rich dirt. Warmth enveloped me as I pathetically fell out of my handstand position and into a patch of sunlight. I pulled off the awful pink wool sweater that my mom had made me wear, and tied it around my waist.

No need for television on such a nice day. That’s what my grandmother said.

Hubert Douglas, Councilor of the Peaceful World’s P.O.V. — A World of Peace

“Hello, Mr. Houlin, I am so sorry to interrupt your probably quite busy day, but—”

“You should be, I have important things to attend to.”

The room in which he was sitting with a sober expression was dark; maybe it was a rainy day in Teoli. Or maybe he had the curtains closed.

But, I am calling on account of some concerns expressed by President Lovenit.” I saw him sit up straighter, of course, as soon as somebody he considered respectable had a problem with his country, he was all ears. He’d always thought I was too young and inexperienced to handle such an extremely challenging position. He was the most high‐strung of all the presidents. I rarely ever voluntarily scheduled a meeting with him personally. He always contradicted me, about everything. I had to cut him some slack though. He’s done more for his country and the world than almost any other president has. Also he’s been doing this for a long time. He was still uptight. “He is concerned about the wages of your country’s factory workers. He feels they are not being paid enough to properly support their families. Perhaps even if you simply increased it by a few dollars, a significant difference would be made.”

“Did President Lovenit suggest this?”

“Um … not exactly … but it was certainly implied.”

“All right. Thank you. I will increase the taxes on oil by a dollar or two. People will hardly even notice!”

“Sounds perfect. By the way, sunlight is good for you.”

“Huh?”

“Never mind, nice talking to you, sir.”

And all peace had been restored.

Sara Heim lives in Philadelphia, Pa., with her parents, brother, dog, and cat. She enjoys writing, making people laugh, and listening to music.

Explore the other prompts from the 2nd annual Student Voices Project:

Story Time — Ponder — Get Involved — Inspiration — Visual Arts — Photography

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