February 13, 2024

Are you paying the price for peace?



I think we can agree that what the world needs now more than ever is more peacekeepers.

Recently, my daughter received a value award from her school.

Values Certificate

Each week, the school awards children who have demonstrated character values with a ‘value award’. I love that her school is focused on developing the children’s characters as well as their academic performance.

For this particular month, my daughter’s school was focused on the value of peace.

When she received the award, I wasn’t surprised, and I was incredibly proud.

She’s a natural peacemaker.
She’s calm, nurturing and always seeking harmony.
She mediates conflicts, soothes tensions, and fosters unity
And she’s never had a tantrum.

That’s not something I can say about her older brother, who has no issue with expressing his feelings. Where my daughter is a peacemaker, my son is more of a disrupter.

Each of those character traits has its positives but also has its negatives.

Whereas I have to spend time with my son, helping him to regulate his emotions and navigate conflict more calmly, it’s the opposite with my daughter.

In a world fraught with potential conflict, having a pint-sized peacemaker is like having a mini miracle worker on our hands.

But I worry for her.

Because keeping the peace can backfire if it means we’re stifling our own feelings to avoid conflict.

It’s not truly peace if we’re having to battle our own emotions inside.
If we’re worried about speaking up for fear of offending someone.
If we’re struggling to assert ourselves and decide it’s easier to keep quiet than face the discomfort of standing up for ourselves.

As Cheryl Richardson so powerfully said:

“If you avoid conflict to keep the peace, you start a war inside yourself.”

And there lies the challenge.

Peacemakers play a crucial role in shaping a positive environment, whether it be in schools, communities, or on a global scale.

Their empathetic nature, diplomatic skills, and commitment to finding common ground contribute to the overall wellbeing of those around them.

In a society where conflicts are inevitable, the presence of peacemakers becomes a beacon of hope that helps create unity.

While the world undeniably needs more peacemakers, we must be mindful of the methods through which peace is achieved.

It’s essential to question whether authentic peace can flourish if we are forced to stifle our genuine feelings or avoid conflict altogether.

The danger lies in the potential internal wars we may inadvertently wage by prioritising external peace over internal turmoil.

Encouraging our children to be peacemakers is important, but not at the expense of their emotional wellbeing.

The danger arises when the desire to maintain peace becomes a barrier to expressing authentic feelings. Suppressing emotions or avoiding conflict can lead to a silent battle within, one that may breed resentment, frustration, and a sense of unfulfillment.

And I say this from experience.

I’ve had to learn that true peace is born out of authenticity, where we feel free to express our emotions and concerns.

This willingness to be authentic allows for genuine connections, mutual understanding, and sustainable conflict resolution.

Paradoxically, by avoiding conflict and suppressing our true selves, we risk compromising the very essence of peace we seek to achieve.

So you’ll find me over here trying to help my children become authentic peacemakers who understand the value of expressing themselves genuinely.

I’m trying to role model open communication and conflict resolution skills – something I struggled with as a young girl myself.

It’s only decades later that I’ve learnt that you can’t bring about genuine peace if you’re sacrificing your own wellbeing.

We definitely need more peacemakers in the world, but let’s not forget that real peace starts from within. So, here’s to fostering authentic peacemakers – the kind who bring harmony to the world without losing themselves in the process!

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