It is ironic that this issue of ANS is being published at a time when the United States government is persisting in waging war in Iraq, despite growing insistence from the citizens to end the war, repair our damaged relationships with many other countries in the world, and change the priorities to better care for the earth and people in desperate need. Relationships at the level of governments and world powers are beyond the control of any one individual, but in fact, the fundamental challenges of relationships between nations mirror the same challenges of relationships between individuals. In any kind of relationship, certain dynamics shape the nature of the relationship—dynamics of trust, respect for differences, concern for one another's well-being, and positive ways of resolving conflict. I believe that every effort that each individual makes in the direction of building strong, healthy, and satisfying relationships with others is another step toward the possibility of world peace.
As this issue of ANS goes to press, the 7th edition of my book Peace and Power: Building Communities for the Future is also in press. First published in 1984, this little book explains ways that groups can shift the dynamics of their relationships from power-over, hierarchical interactions, to cooperative interactions grounded in values of empowerment for all, nurturing of one another, and respect for one another's differences. The book is admittedly idealistic, but it has served as a beacon of hope for many individuals and groups seeking to move toward new ways of relating to one another. It has also provided practical guidance for groups in making changes both large and small.
In the preface of Peace and Power, I have included “A Dozen and One Things You Can Do to Create Peace on Earth.” This a list that my late coauthor, Charlene Eldridge, and I created at the time of the first gulf war. The list addresses many of the most serious challenges that we face as a global community. I remain firm in my belief that we can indeed turn the tide of human history and global health by heeding the actions on this list.
- Plant and nurture something that grows.
- Practice the fine art of yielding—in your car, in conversation, etc.
- Become active in a group that works on principles of cooperation, on principles of Peace and Power.
- Fill your home, work, and commuting environments with visual and auditory images of peace and tranquility.
- Do at least one thing to simplify your life and reduce your consumption of disposable products.
- Do at least one thing to reduce your consumption of natural resources.
- Move toward a vegetarian diet.
- Learn and practice some form of meditation.
- Learn and practice ways to reduce hostile interactions with others.
- Exchange gentle forms of touch regularly.
- Express appreciation to at least 1 individual or group every day.
- Help 3 children learn 3 things on this list.
- Pass this list along to someone else.
The scholars who have prepared the articles in this issue of ANS have made significant contributions toward building insight and knowledge about the dynamics of relationship. So now add one other item to the list—ANS readers learn and apply the insights conveyed in this issue of ANS to strengthen nursing contributions toward better, stronger relationships.
Peggy L. Chinn, PhD, RN, FAAN