We explore community building through Higher Ground, with special emphasis on the power of kindness. Together, how can adults and children create genuine community in our schools and beyond?
In this article, we explore finding peace within. How can we shift our hearts and minds towards peace? How can we help the children in our classrooms do the same? What books, both for children and adults, can support our efforts?
We explore the meaning of peacebuilding and what the infrastructure for peace can look like in one classroom and throughout a school. We also suggest a picture book and a book for the “adult on the rug,” both of which explore the deep concept of peacebuilding,
In this article and the next three articles to come, we will explore paths to peace and peacebuilding in classrooms and schools through the lens of Higher Ground and the power of story and art.
It can be easy to dismiss the worries of a child, but to that child, they may feel consuming. When we do not name and talk about our anxieties, or when we do share them and they are discounted, shame around them can grow.
Caren: When my daughter Beth was fourteen, she traveled with a small exchange group of teens to Poland where she would live with a couple and their teen daughter in a small village. In a true exchange, the Polish teens then traveled to Minnesota for a similar experience. Neither group spoke the other’s language. Recently, while cleaning out boxes, I found
When I say the word Peacemaker, who is the first person that comes to mind? It is so important to teach children about famous peacemakers but if we only teach about folks who have become larger than life, children may put peacemaking on a pedestal that seems unattainable for themselves.
Some days are tough. During this COVID-19 pandemic, our children face plenty of challenges. Loss of playground time. Loss of playdates. Changes in school routines. Changes in home routines. These days, children may need more time alone on a “peace blanket” to grieve their former lives. The rest of us may need the same.
Bread brings people together. The ingredients in bread are so elemental. When combined with love, they nourish and sustain a people. At the center of a gathering, at the center of a culture is a foundational grain that sustains life — naan, tortilla, rice, ugali, injera, and fry bread to name a few. Food, then, is a bridge between worlds.
Part of our work as peacemakers is to properly situate ourselves in a web of life. We are creatures in a vast, brilliant and complex ecosystem called not to dominate, but to live with in harmonious relationship. Children often seem naturally drawn to animals and nature, with an inherent ability to walk gently on the green earth.
As we write this article, we are in the middle of a world-wide pandemic and a consequential election season. Both events ask us to address big, core questions: What kind of people do we want to be? How do we resolve our conflicts?
Living from a Place of Inner Peace Ellie: Michael Hall’s Red: A Crayon’s Story is the tale of a blue crayon with a red label. The crayon was not very good at being red. He couldn’t draw strawberries or work with yellow to draw an orange. Everyone tried to help. Even scissors and sharpeners made snips and tucks to see
Caren: “No justice. No peace.” This summer, millions of people – young, old and from all backgrounds — protested police brutality and systemic racism, all during an historic pandemic. Ellie Roscher and I live in Minneapolis, Minnesota, not far from where George Floyd was murdered by a Minneapolis police officer and close to the epicenter of marches and protests. With the
“What happened to me must never happen to you.” Caren: Those were the first words Sachiko Yasui, a Nagasaki atomic bomb survivor, told me as we began our work together writing her story. On August 9, 1945, at 11:02, six-year-old Sachiko was playing outside with her friends, making mud dumplings, when the second atomic bomb of World
One of the activities I do with young people is called speed dating. It’s an empathy building exercise because, I have found, we actually have to practice talking to each other and really listening.