Breaking the ideal, overarching concept of peace into manageable bites and methods of actualization.
The key questions for this pillar are:
- How are we comprehending the various ways in which one can view and create “peace?”
- How are we exploring peace through methods of actualization?
Talking about peace in the abstract, albeit a useful exercise, can provide too broad a conception of what peace actually entails. It can also make it difficult for the learner to see clear ways in which their actions and their personal life can build peace. Too often peace is understood as that (over there) vs. this (right here). In other words, exploring approaches to peace through various disciplines and localizing and personalizing peace efforts can shift our appreciation for peace from the abstract to the concrete.
The video below profiles a student’s social and environmental justice initiative that was supported, in part, by the Close Up Foundation, America’s largest civics education and engagement organization. It is examples such as this that put conceptions of peace and social justice into action.
Another great example of shifting peace and “doing good” from the abstract to the concrete is the 30 Days of Good Series from the website and magazine Good.is. This series provides a “Good” theme for each month. A challenge (task or exercise) is then assigned for each day of that month that fits that theme. Previous themes have included: making your own meals, citizenship, going back to school, financial fitness, and Do It Yourself.
Reflection Question: Browse the last few months of the 30 Days of Good series. What theme or challenge appeals to you in terms of bringing in or practicing more good in your life?
I love the idea of reducing the water that your toilet uses each time it flushes. I recently learned how to fix my leaky toilet so I am all for getting even more familiar with it. My family actually did this to our toilet at home and I know it works. It only takes a second to do it!
I found the financial make an infographic of your weekly spending to be a good one. I started doing this in August to try to keep better tabs on where my money is going. I’ve fallen off-track recently though with school starting so I want to start again. It’s crazy how much one sandwich, 2 cups of coffee, and a week of transportation costa add on top of going out on Friday nights and then grocery shopping. It’s important to think about where my money is going, not only for myself, but because I don’t necessarily know where the money I give to a company, business goes. Are they socially responsible? What do they invest in? Are they sustainable?
Oddly enough, I interned with them over the summer and got to experience what “30 days of GOOD” looked like in person. Regardless of the experience, I find the challenge of “back to school” to be an appealing challenge for myself. I find intellectual growth integral to emotional growth; in so far as your ability to questions and challenge your conception of a topic allows for you to redefine how you act and what you attempt to achieve. This year I want to focus on intentional living and I am planning on approaching this by “getting rid of everything I know” to discover and reveal the extent to which my socialization has altered my character and my beliefs. From there, I would like to analyze my values and begin a process of redefining myself.
I like the sleep challenges. I know that I often have a hard time getting to sleep and the more tired I am the more stressed I get. Also the more tired I am the less things I want to do. I’ll go to work, come home and do nothing. When I am sleeping well I am more motivated to be productive with my free time by gardening, playing with the dog, doing arts and crafts, etc. I think if everyone got more or better sleep the world would be a much more peaceful place.
I like the idea of taking time to study world geography. I think that Americans are really notorious for being bad at geography because we come from a mindset of being in the center of the world. I am not to great with geography, and it embarrasses me because I feel like it reflects that way of thinking. I think it is always a humbling experience to come across a country on a map that you’ve never heard of. It makes the world seem very big. I think that while you’re studying geography, it is always best to try to learn about about the country’s cultures. Especially if you’ve never heard of the country or if you don’t know much about it.
The theme that most strikes me is the individual role in creating a more peaceful environment. So often we think of peace in terms of how we interact with others, yet personal reflection and improvement are essential. You cannot help others improve if you are not willing to improve yourself. It seems many of the 30 Days of Good projects focus on individual action that may not immediately translate into interaction with others.
The Do-It-Yourself challenge is very appealing to me as an effort to be more at peace with myself. I am quite often disappointed or frustrated by the consumerism that characterizes so many moments of my day. It sometimes seems like in order to have a good time, a good meal, or experience something surprising, something else must be bought. A DIY approach to each day would be refreshing, challenging, and a way to stimulate creative thinking. And it would have the added benefit of being cost-effective.
Beth Jimerson. I really like everyone’s ideas and agree that learning a new language or learning about a new religion is something that I try to do whenever I meet people from different cultures. One that stood out to me however that I have been trying to do more often is to make my own non-toxic household cleaners. Not only is it better for the environment but better for me and my health! I have been paying more and more attention to the toxic ingredients in everything from household cleaners to shampoo and trying to cut out parabens and other toxic ingredients to better my health!
The two challenges that most appeal to me were 1)Learning to say Thank You in 10 Languages, and the Good Citizenship Task to 2) Ask a Foreign-born person to share their migration story. If there was one thing I could go back and change, I wish that I would have stuck with learning a foreign language so that I could be fluent in a language other than English. Learning a new language seems like such a daunting task, but learning Thank You in 10 languages seems much more manageable and a fun way to ease into language learning. Learning to say “Thank You” in so many ways would also require me to meditate on being appreciative and thankful. Asking a foreign-born person about their migration story opens the door for a wealth of conversation about culture, transition, and hope..also themes I believe would help me practice more good in my life.
Richard Cambridge: Three themes appeal to me immediately I.e. (I) Learn about a Great Artist; (ii) Learn about a Religion; and (III) Learn to say Thank You in 10 Languages.
Daniel Knoll: The challenge that jumps out to me is eating better. My eating habits are finally catching up to me. For the first time in college I don’t have a meal plan and I’m spending more and more time learning how to prepare meals for my self. I try and come up with at least one new dish a week to try, and challenges like the 30 days give me ideas I wouldn’t have thought to try, like creating a cooking soundtrack (or using left overs – which I’m terrible at)
As I was going through these, I had to laugh a bit because I was reminded of not only something I should do, but something I had forgotten from my to-do list today, which was to take first-aid basics. My certification expired probably a year or so ago and while working with children, I feel much more comfortable knowing that I could take care of an emergency situation if one arose. However, as our family will be growing in December, it’s become especially important that my husband and I take a refresher. So I just signed us up.
I like the idea of learning about an artist. Art is something I love to view and make, but rarely carve out the time to do so. My life is duller for it. I’d love to take this on for myself as well as incorporate it into my classroom. I want my students to make connections with literature and art and their creators, recognizing they are/were part of a specific time and place with a message to convey. Our job is to decipher that message and allow it to permeate where needed.
I found the DIY project to reduce the amount of water flushed/wasted by my toilet. I try my best to be as environmentally sustainable as possible and saving an extra 800 gallons of water a year seemed like a great idea. I just finished putting a ½ gallon bottle in my toilet at home and recommended the 30 Days of Good article to my friends on Facebook! http://www.good.is/post/do-it-yourself-use-a-bottle-to-reduce-the-water-your-toilet-wastes-30daysofgood