Musical Man with a Message

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Natalie Bollig writes, Imagine a world where everyone thinks to themselves "what can I do to make the world a better place?Imagine a world where everyone thinks to themselves &quo

Natalie Bollig writes, Imagine a world where everyone thinks to themselves "what can I do to make the world a better place?Imagine a world where everyone thinks to themselves "what can I do to make the world a better place?" Peter Yarrow gets that feeling every day. Through music and his foundation Operation Respect, Peter Yarrow manages to make the world a better place.

 

Peter Yarrow's "Puff the Magic Dragon" is the story of a little boy named Jackie Paper who played with a fantasy dragon named Puff. Then one night, Jackie never came to play with Puff. In life, you have to grow up; you can't avoid change. Our world has changed into a world of hate and bullying. Peter Yarrow, the co-writer of the song "Puff the Magic Dragon" and the author of Puff the Magic Dragon Pop-Up Book started the foundation Operation Respect, a non-profit organization that gives children who are either bullied or in an unsafe learning environment a place of support. Operation Respect started the Don't Laugh at Me programs which show kids inspiring music and videos, and ways to resolve conflict. A year before the Columbine shootings, Peter Yarrow started Operation Respect.

 

"To me, the one thing that we want is for kids to have the right to live in an environment in which they're not frightened and in which they feel cared about," he states. Mr. Yarrow feels that unless we don't get our kids out of this dark age of bullying, it will only get worse and worse. Mr. Yarrow quotes, "The most powerful thing you can do to stop bullying in your school is create safety from those who are bullied… create a culture of bystanders (the ones that aren't being harassed)… that say we don't want this here… and live that way."

 

After the interview of Peter Yarrow, he performed one of his songs called Don't Laugh at Me. I realized that I HAVE to respect other children who are from different backgrounds or religions. It doesn't matter if you're short, tall, black, or white. People are born that way. They can't change themselves. That is when I realized that it's the inside that counts. Acceptance is crucial in a world with all different cultures. If you are being bullied, Mr. Yarrow says, "[you] are right to find this behavior totally cruel and unacceptable…" A lot of kids think that it is just a rite of passage and that they just have to suck it up. No. Bullying is wrong and inhuman.

 

"So the first thing we have to do [to address bullying] is to let bullied kids know that we're their allies. Say to them, 'I think that's terrible and I'm on your side'… once people know that… they can acquire hope." But you have to tell the victim "sorry" and that those kids just aren't worth it. Just thinking it won't help. Peter, the musical man with a message, writer of the song "Puff the Magic Dragon", doesn't just want us to adjust to change. He wants us to cause changes; to say "You know what? It's not okay with me for you to bully that person just because his skin color is different than yours,"Mr. Yarrow, through his music, foundations, and charities, manages to change the world.

 

And that's just it. You don't have to be a famous person to change the world. ANYONE, whether you're small, tall, shy, or talkative, can change the world, say no to harassment, and say no to bullying. We have the power to change the world, whether it's for the good or evil of mankind. The rest of our fate lies in our hands. When you wake up tomorrow morning think to yourself, "What can I do to make the world a better place?"