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Barry Crimmins

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Remarks upon Receiving the Courage of Conscience Award Saturday, January 1, 2000

Remarks upon Receiving the Courage of Conscience Award
Peace is sanity. It is the synchronization of heart and mind that occurs when the heart trusts the mind because the mind listens to and believes the heart.

Babies are born with hearts full of love, trust, joy and kindness. Too soon their minds get filled with and distracted by far different things: abuse, neglect, acrimony, violence, and conflict. Because of these violations of their purity they become confused and begin to believe that these evils are all that's real and what their heart tells them is false. But the heart keeps valiantly attempting to refute the indignities the mind is beginning to believe.

And the battle is joined. The heart has few allies. So little that influences the child tells it, "Believe your heart. It is right. It is your conscience. It is worthy of your trust." And without this encouragement the heart is muted. Still it persists in telling the mind that something is wrong. Sadly, the message is so muffled that the child begins to interpret it as, "Something is wrong - with me.

Better not let anyone know. Better blend in . Keep my head down and my mouth shut. If need be behave ridiculously so that self-loathing makes sense. Smoke crack, get drunk, burn down the city, celebrate war, despise the powerless. Learn to hate. It's the only thing left I have much confidence in my ability to do. You can't hate anyone until you hate yourself. Then the rest is easy." Poor baby. Poor world.

The way this world of bullies mistreats children it is no surprise that so many of them grow up and go to awful places like prison and war. But we can change this if we have the courage to listen to, rather than dictate to children. They have, after all, been with God much more recently than adults.

I am proud and humbled to receive this award in the name of the world's most overdue human rights initiative - The Children's Rights Movement. For when we make the Earth somewhere that children are nurtured, respected, protected and loved, they will never lose their minds because they can't hear their hearts. And they will be sane and so will the world. And there will be peace. I love you. Thanks.

Barry Crimmins

updated: 14 years ago