Back to School: Creating a Peaceful Year
The Peaceful Parenting Newsletter
A free e-mail newsletter from Naomi Drew
We are your future, America. So pay attention to our needs.
We need an example to follow.
Jennifer Clark, fourth grader
Its hard to believe that school is about to start again! Just having returned from a wonderful vacation in Tuscany, Im still filled with the serene peace and beauty of that spectacular region. Being there reinforced to me once again how important it is to slow the pace of life. As my husband and I traveled through the Tuscan countryside and strolled through the villages, we were struck over and over again by the calm energy throughout. People radiated a sense of savoring each moment, particularly the simple things - a good lesson for all of us, and one I hope to keep living.
Once again thank you for your kind responses to this newsletter. I very much enjoy hearing from you. Keep your comments coming!
Remember to savor the remaining moments of summer and when fall comes, savor that too.
Love and peace,
Thoughts on Returning to School:
We all want our children to feel safe, accepted, nurtured and respected both at home and in school. Parents and teachers are our childrens first role models. What they see in us, they emulate, and the lessons we teach have a life-long impact. It is so essential that our children be taught the skills of peacemaking both at home and in school. What are these skills? Respect, acceptance of differences, empathy, anger management, and conflict resolution. Imagine kids all over learning these skills as part of their daily lessons. The world would become a very different place!
This vision actually is beginning to manifest. Like the hundredth monkey effect, its cropping up all over. Teens are learning how to resolve differences nonviolently and mediate conflicts for their peers; kindergarten children in suburbs and cities are speaking in "I messages," and parents around the country are learning peacemaking skills to use at home. Greater and greater numbers of people have begun asking for the teaching of peace and acceptance, not as an add-on to the curriculum, but as the foundation for success in all areas.
The basics have shifted. No longer are reading, writing, and math enough. The changing texture of our complex and sometimes violent society has shown us other basics need to be included that will also help children succeed socially, emotionally, and academically.
Regarding this Id like to share with you a concept from my second book The Peaceful Classroom in Action that I called The New Basics. Take a look at what these basics are:
The New Basics:
essentials for a healthy future
- a sense of hope
- respect for self and others
- healthy self-awareness
- the ability to work cooperatively
- a sense of empathy
- anger management skills
- strategies for resolving conflicts - a sense of personal responsibility for one's behavior
- the knowledge that our actions make a difference to the world around us
- an understanding that violence in any form is not acceptable
- firm but fair limits
(adapted from The Peaceful Classroom in Action)
How can we make sure all children are provided with these basics? By helping to bring the skills of peacemaking to greater numbers of homes, schools, and neighborhoods. Remember, peace starts with with each of us and it spreads one person at a time.
I invite your partnership. Speak to your childs teacher and principal. Copy this newsletter and offer it for distribution. One principal I know is already doing this. Every parent in his school is going to receive a copy. Share the newsletter with your clergy people, your PTA/PTO, or any other organization you belong to.
Become part of the larger vision: help create peace one person at a time, so the past and the present will no longer determine the future. Join me in inviting families all over the world to share in this vision. If you have friends and relatives in other countries reach out to them to; send them this newsletter and ask them to share it with their friends.
The great philosopher Norman Cousins once said, "The starting point for a better world is the belief that it is possible." As long as their are people like you who care theres hope for the future. But hope is not enough; we need to translate our hopes into concrete actions.
Just remember: Committed people taking small, steady steps can turn hope and vision into a living reality.
Steps You Can Take Right Now:
1. Teach and model peacemaking skills in your homes and schools. Make your home or school a Put-Down Free Zone. Teachers, for great teaching ideas to start your year, go to Learningpeace.com.
2. Start a Peaceful Parenting support group in your community or a Peaceful School action group if you teach. Contact me for details or refer to chapter 12 of Peaceful Parents, Peaceful Kids.
3. Approach your childs teacher or principal. Ask if your childs school has a peacemaking program in place. If there isnt one, ask for it. Plenty of wonderful programs exist that lower rates of fighting and violence by as much as 75%. Begin now.
4. Unite with other parents and teachers in this common goal. Did you know that 160,000 children a day miss school for fear of the way theyll be treated by their peers? Changing this tide begins with actions we take today.
5. If your child says he has been bullied dont ignore it. The first way to stop bullying is to intervene. Talk to your childs teacher and see how the situation can be remedied.
6. Share this newsletter with other parents and teachers. Encourage them to get involved.
7. Keep your vision alive regardless of the odds. Every vision that has come to fruition has done so out of persistence and determination. Be sure to share your vision with your kids and ask them what their vision of peace is. Have them write and draw about it. Display what they made as a constant reminder.
Thoughts from a Readers:
From From Suzanne Barlyn:
I love your suggestion about eliminating something in order to feel more peaceful. I decided to eliminate Sam's Club from my life. It's great to save money, but it was one more errand to run -- and one that required spending time in an environment I didnt like. I also eliminated another store because of its insane atmosphere. I now shop in Target when I must -- in peace -- even if costs an extra $10.
I did a lot of thinking about making my life easier because Im expecting another baby. Another trap that's easy to get caught up in is not asking people for help. It's too easy to get caught up in the "I can do everything myself" mentality. That may be true, but sometimes there's too big a price to pay. Friends, neighbors and family have been so helpful -- the woman across the street has volunteered on several occasions to watch my 2-year-old, just for 30 minutes, and it makes such a big difference. It's so easy to reciprocate the goodwill by asking her son to come over at other times!
All the best,
Peace starts with us and the way we treat ourselves.
We are the well everyone else drinks from.
What can you do to keep your well full?
Love to all of you!
Visit my website, Learningpeace.com
To schedule a complimentary "Peaceful Parenting" coaching session by phone, e-mail Naomi at email@example.com or call 609-844-1138. Peaceful Parenting Coaching enables parents to work individually, as couples, or with their children on practical strategies that create greater harmony, less conflict. Sessions can be done by phone or in person.
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Copyright Naomi Drew, August, 2001 All Rights Reserved.
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