On Monday, the entire school assembled in the Social Center for the first time, to learn a beautiful all-school song for the Holiday Show. The song is called Peace on Earth and Mrs. Getter has arranged it so that it sounds really great. It was truly inspirational to listen to all the children as they sang earnestly about something so desirable but so hard to achieve: PEACE
No reasonable person can deny that in countries as far away as Afghanistan and Syria, or in cities as close as Ferguson and Oakland, things are anything but peaceful. Terrorism, war, racial strife and violent protest are unfortunate realities in the world in which we live. The images that we see, the events we hear about or read about on a daily basis can lead to anxiety, hopelessness and apathy amongst adults and young people alike. What can we do about what appears to be beyond our control?
Here is my holiday message to you: don’t give up on Peace! Some suggestions:
Forgive. So much of the unrest that we see is part of a cycle of ill feelings. “You hurt me, now I will hurt you” and on it goes for generations. The breaking of the cycle starts with forgiveness. Some say, and I agree, that to forgive those who have hurt takes more strength than to respond violently towards them.
For more on forgiveness see: theforgivenessproject.com:
Teach. When our children become adults will they choose the path of peace or contribute to the cycle of ill will? The answer to this question will largely be determined by what they learn from their parents. I believe that those of us who are raising children need to expose them to stories that show peace is still possible and to the biographies of the great people who have promoted peace.
Model. Our children are watching us and watching the behaviors we choose. Do they see us treating everyone with respect? Even the folks we disagree with? Do they see solving problems through conversation? When there is frustration and anger, how are we handling that? Are we constructive or destructive? Inclusive or exclusive?
Look for the Positive. There is beauty all around us. Often the media can serve as a negative force blinding us to all that is good in our world. Challenge yourself to look past that and see: people serving those in need, joyful children playing together, communities coming together to solve problems and families supporting each other with love and kindness.
Take Responsibility. We cannot control the behavior of others, only our own. If each of us commits to a life of kindness and respect for all, then perhaps we can create a positive momentum that will get things going in the right direction. Each of us has the power within us to bring about change. Look no further than our own community here at Beechwood and how every teacher, parent and student plays a part in making this a peaceful place.
On December 18th at 7pm, our entire community will gather to sing these words:
Peace, Peace, Peace, Peace.
Let us all now live in Peace.
Children of the world now sing.
Peace, Peace, Peace
As we sing, I hope we can consider this song a promise: A promise to do what we can to make our world a more peaceful place.