Teaching Peaceful Ways

At the very core of Montessori education, you will find respect —Respect of each other, the environment and ourselves.  I believe if we practice respect—- we strengthen our commitment to a peaceful world.  This cannot happen without our continued work to model this at home and at school showing kindness and patience with each other as well as expecting kindness and respect from our children.   Do you believe that empathy is taught?  I think so.  Being aware of when someone is feeling hurt or sad, joyous or happy are all feelings that need to be shared and explained.  For example, children need to know that name-calling is hurtful.  Saying “no” may feel powerful as a response, however like the word “hate” both have sharp edges that are hurtful.  I recently witnessed a parent in the grocery store, who was very frustrated with her two kids in tow about 4 and 8 years of age.  It took everything in me to not place my hand on her shoulder, when she screamed, “Shut up” at them as she talked on the cell phone.”   The same is true with the child I heard recently say to his mother, “I don’t have to listen to you.”  I was about ready to say — “Really who says that this true because when I look at you and see all that your parents have given you in a good school, a loving family, the clothes on your back.  I think she deserves to be listened to and respected.”

We all have a great need to feel a sense of belonging and significance.  A need to be included rather than excluded…Sharing these observations, modeling kindness and respect begins and continues as life lessons with all ages.  We all need to hear and see that though we are different on the outside (and rightly so or life would be pretty boring if we were all the same!)  We have the same tenderness inside.  Peacefulness comes when we are aware of that tenderness and create a sense of belonging for all.

The Peace Pledge:  I promise to do my best to:

Respect myself and others;
Listen carefully when others speak; Respect others’ ideas;
Use self-control; Challenge violence in all its forms; Not hold grudges;
Tell the truth; Spread peace at home, at school and in the community.