I definitely agree that the power lies within the youth. In order for them to change the world for better, they first need to know and understand their power. They need to educate themselves on how laws are formed, how laws work, history, etc. They also need to humble themselves and listen to the advice of their elders who may have tried to fight the same issues they are fighting. Furthermore, teens must collaborate with other like-minded people to organize their ideas, thoughts, and plan of action.
Get to know other people - travel if possible, take advantage of the world-wide web to become acquainted with people from other parts of the world, get involved with lots of different kinds of people in your hometown.
The more you get to really know people, the more you will realize how much we all have in common. Once you become friends with someone - or better yet, with several someones - from another country or culture or religious faith or school or whatever, the less likely you will be to make rash assumptions about those people or that place. It's much harder to get angry with a people that you have cultivated personal connections with - and that's a huge step toward making peace instead of war!
Teenagers have as much power as any other age group in regards to peace in our communities and abroad.
The best thing everyone can do to make the world a more peaceful place is to look for opportunities in our own lives to enact our values; to act peacefully; to speak peacefully; to empathize.
It's easy to keep this kind of idea as a hypothetical one. It doesn't have to be.
No single person is very likely to change the world. The best we can hope for is to have a positive impact. We can do that everyday if we try. That doesn't mean that you won't have a day where you get into an argument, but it does mean that you can realize your values on a regular basis and trust that there will be a ripple effect.
But if you do want to extend yourself or participate in a more global way in making the world a peaceful place, it seems that active awareness and interest in what is happening with other people (in your own community and abroad) will often be the first step toward positive change.
I love your enthusiasm, and agree with you. However, my teaching experience has taught me that very few teenagers actively share your perspective. If there was one thing I could do (as a teacher, a mother, or maybe even when I was a teenager myself) it is to demonstrate the power of knowledge over peer pressure, as well as praising those with the courage to be authentic in the face of such peer-pressure.
We live in an image-driven society, and I fear teenagers today are exposed to far more than I was, even 15 years ago, via the media. Improving peace conditions, in many ways, means having a more global perspective, outside of the selfishness and image-driven mentality that the American and popular culture pushes.
I think that pohnpei says it well: tolerance is so important when looking to change the world. Too many times, the preconceptions people hold do not allow them to accept others. Therefore, teens today need to open their minds to the ideologies of others.
More than trying to get the word "war" out of your head, I think what you need to do is to work on getting people of your generation to be more tolerant of others. Wars tend to come out of one group of people feeling that another group is inferior or is evil or some other negative thing like that. If teens can help one another have more tolerance and respect for people of other cultures and nations, then they might be able to help move us away from war.
Teenagers are often very empathetic. When they reach a certain age, they start analyzing the world. They do not usually like what they see. Teens are often highly involved in movements. They want to think the world can be a better place.
I think the most important thing is that teens of all coutries,race, religion etc forget the past and look at fellow teenagers in a new light. We should learn to accept other people the way they are.Remove the term war from your minds. The only thing it does is result in loss of lives, misery and hatred.Respect people of all religions, cultures and countries. The youth has the power to change the world.So lets use our power to bring a good change!