LIFE SKILLS BUILDING
All these pillars are held together and buttressed by the end goal of building, practicing, and adopting life skills that empower individuals to bring about peace in the world around them – interpersonal skills, intrapersonal skills, analytical skills, conflict resolution skills, organizing skills, and learning skills.
The key questions for this pillar are:
- How are we encouraging the skills developed in the classroom to be practiced outside of the classroom?
- How can we assess whether or not we are meeting our peace objective?
What’s the point of teaching about peace if it does not bring more peace into the world? What’s the point of teaching conflict resolution skills if those skills are not practiced when conflicts arise? What is the point of building learning communities they don’t create peaceable environments conducive to learning and sharing? What is the point of nurturing emotional intelligence if it doesn’t equip us to be better friends, peers, and people? What is the point of re-framing history it doesn’t impact how we interpret current events and forecast the future of humanity?
Rhetorical questions, yes, but one’s we shouldn’t take for granted. After all, what’s the purpose of education? How often to we actually stop and ask ourselves that question? What is the value of learning? Is it to get a job to make more money? Is it to become better citizens? Is it to replicate
In his book, Ethics for the New Millennium, His Holiness the Dalai Lama writes, “There is nothing amazing about being rich; there is nothing amazing about being highly educated. Only when the individual has a warm heart do these attributes become worthwhile.”
I adapt this sentiment for the purposes of this course and peace pedagogy in the following ways: there is nothing amazing about being an educator; there is nothing amazing about being a learner; only when the relationships established among these individuals cultivates peace and nonviolence do these roles become worthwhile.
How we relate and connect to others (interpersonal). How we relate and tune in to our feelings, needs, and motivations (intrapersonal). How we discover, interpret and, make sense of life events – past, present, and future (analytical). How we address conflicts (conflict resolution). How we work collectively with others to solve social problems (organizing). And how we engage with, absorb, and share new ideas and information (learning). These are all skills that are developed in classrooms and workshops and whose practice should not remain confined to those spaces but exercised daily in all relevant settings.
Reflection Question: Of all the pillars just presented – community building, engaging multiple intelligences, nurturing emotional intelligence, exploring approaches to peace, re-framing history, and transforming conflict nonviolently – which one requires skills that you are most interested in strengthening to enhance your own work or life? Why?