Peace – #5Days5Words

Posted: 9th August 2018 by kkeerybi in Uncategorized

I need to get back to blogging, but didn’t want to set too lofty a goal.  So I gave myself a challenge:  blog every day for my last 5 internet-friendly days of summer vacation about 5 little words I have been reflecting on this recharging summer.  Here’s word number one.

When I was much younger, I went to a very traditional Baptist church.  My favourite hymn to sing and reflect on was one that repeated the command to “Be still and know that I am God”.  When I moved to a different church, my favourite song was one that promised:  “Peace, I give to you; my peace I give unto you”.

I think I’ve always craved peace.  It soothes my soul.  I seek out quiet and reflection frequently and greedily.  This summer, as I have cocooned into a (relatively) quiet existence, I have sought out peace within my soul in my solitary 6 a.m. walks along the waterfront, curled in a hammock on the deck at the family cottage, and in the putterings around my kitchen baking and preserving.

However, every butterfly has to emerge from the cocoon eventually.  And the truth is that we don’t live in a peaceful world.  Turn on the news and it is one sad story of conflict, strife and ugly confrontation after another.  Peace is hard to find outside a cocoon.

This summer, I’ve been reflecting on my discomfort over conflict.  Not all conflict is a bad thing.  In fact, one of the main things that made me think about this was the response to the Ontario provincial government’s plan to retract the current Growth and Development curriculum from our Health and Physical Education teaching and replace it with one written in another century (literally) that doesn’t honour the learning needs of our students or the lives they live in this century.  Another uproar across the educational world hit when this same government determined that provincial initiatives to better understand, honour and teach indigenous perspectives and teachings would be paused.  In both cases, school boards, federations, individual educators, and other organizations and groups hit the airwaves to voice their displeasure and suggest more appropriate courses of action.  They initiated conflict.  A willingness to pick a fight has a higher purpose, though.  Our students deserve to develop a more multi-faceted and inclusive understanding of their world, including teachings found in the 2015 Growth and Development curriculum and from the work of integrating indigenous teaching into many areas of their learning.  Our students have a much better chance to find peace in their own lives if we fight these battles for them.

In my job, I meet with conflict all of the time.  It is a constant role to mediate opposing perspectives and ideas and make decisions that will not make everyone happy.  But it is important to keep thinking about the students at the heart of my practice and keep a steadfast view on how I can best support them with the resources I have.

I will always crave peace and attempt to avoid conflict.  That’s just me.  But there are times when I need to embrace conflict more fully to serve a bigger goal.  I’ve always done it, but with resistance and that drains me.  I’m curious to see if approaching it from a perspective of pursuing long-term peace for my students will help.

Peace is always a worthy goal, but the complexity of the path it takes us to get there can be riddled with conflict.  And I am working on learning to be ok with that.

 

  1. adunsige says:

    Oh Kristi! You always make me think. I like your view on peace, and the link that sometimes exists between peace and conflict. I never thought of it this way, but it’s so true. I’d be curious to later hear if your reframing of conflict makes it a little less draining at times.

    Aviva