“Peace education is the process of acquiring the values, the knowledge and developing the attitudes, skills, and behaviors to live in harmony with oneself, with others, and with the natural environment.” Wikipedia
Peace education occurs daily in our household. For the most part, everyone gets along. However, let’s face it-we are together ALL THE TIME! On a daily basis, we try to use our words to maintain peace within the household. Everyone is aware that when the “rules” of the house are followed, peace is maintained. It is those times when someone feels that someone else has performed an injustice to the household, another person or the world that the harmony quickly disappears.
When the kiddos went to Montessori school, they were taught to have a peace conference. The child who feels hurt or who is upset gets the peace rose and hands it to the other person or persons. They then go to a neutral spot and have a peace conference. This is a discussion in which each side may speak how they feel and what they think happened. (I find this to be an awesome activity-if only everyone in the world could do this!)
Unfortunately, I think at home we get into a rut of having them speak at each other instead of with each other. I noticed this recently. I had the kids stop speaking at each other, turn towards each other and to speak in a normal tone WITH the other person. The funny thing was that they both immediately started giggling. Argument over.
Unfortunately, I have one kiddo who is in a constant battle with the world. He struggles to find happiness in the world. So how do you teach peace education to someone who’s instict is violence and negativity? In my heart, I know that he does not want to feel this way. Most of the time, his outward expressions are happy and loving but they can change very quickly.
He has taught me more about peace education than any book or experience so far. I must model how to react to situations (such as when you drop an entire container of yogurt on the floor and you want to scream, but you don’t). I must remain calm and not become engaged when he wants to argue and speak negatively about the world. Is this difficult? Absolutely. My other kids have had to learn this method also. Amazingly, it works well.
I also use books as much as possible. Some of my favorites are The Lorax, Giraffe’s Can’t Dance, The Lion and the Mouse, The Goose Girl, Stone Soup, and my newest-Old Turtle and the Broken Truth (All of these titles should be underlined, but I cannot figure out how to do that for some reason). All three kids enjoyed the Old Turtle and our lessons that followed.
How do you teach your kids about peace?