Tuesday, September 21, 2010

International Peace Day

Today, students and staff at the Friends School will celebrate International Peace Day by creating "Pinwheels for Peace" with the Baxter School and Real School. However, what it means to truly engage in peacemaking is elusive and complicated and requires reflection and commitment.  In the past, I've shared a lot of links about various organizations that work with children and communities to develop peacemaking skills.  Today, I'm stuck in a place of query : how do we move beyond wishing for peace to actually creating it, and is nonviolent social protest the same as peaceful social change?

Raffi has a call for putting the world's children at the center of our shared decisions in Yes Magazine.  He writes:
As individuals, we’re accustomed to putting the needs of children first. It comes naturally to us; we intuitively understand our deep responsibility to the very young. At the societal level, though, we often fail to take their rights and needs (including future ones) into account. Imagine what would happen if we did—if compassion and consideration for children’s well-being became the basis of our collective decisions.
 And this rings true to me --the labor of meeting the perceived needs of our own individual children can edge out time and energy to develop social policies and shared resources that meet the needs of our whole community, including our families.  The pace of our own treadmill picks up, leaving us without the space to imagine more shared responsibilities and the potential joy of some interdependence.

I'd love a parent-discussion about how we enact peace making in our own lives, families and communities and the complexities that that brings up... any interest?


Corie Scribner said...

Many times, teachers and parents appropriately discuss how we treat others as part of peace making. I would invite conversations that include taking care of ourselves, each other and the world!

Kimberly Simmons said...

Hey Corie -- I know you're right, and still sometimes my efforts feel so small, and even mediocre, given the scope of conflict in the world. My girls have been edgy with each other during this transition back to school and I find myself failing, pretty much every day, to express the complexity I see -- that they need and deserve the space to let out their own dark feelings without being mean to their family members; that they deserve to be independent and autonomous and powerful as individuals yet also need to see how their behaviors effect others and that they have to work as part of "team family." I do not want to teach them that peacemaking ultimately or simply means lowering their voice, since I believe that peacemaking involves courage and activism, but I do want to teach them how to meta-reflect on when a conflict serves them and the group and when it can be avoided, or how to proceed with a conflict with integrity rather than just ducking it and swallowing their feelings. It is messy work, and I just often feel unskilled and unprepared for the real-life part of "principled peacemaking"