Sunday, September 16, 2012

5 Ways to Practice Peace at Home

 September 21st is International Peace Day.  It might sound ridiculous to some given the state of the world lately, but I believe there can be peace in our lives and in the world.  Peace is not simply a state of being, but the result of practiced skill.  How can we expect our future leaders to resolve conflicts with people and nations if we have not taught them to do it at the most primary level, at home? 

Families are the perfect training ground for peace.  No one can offend as easily as family and arguments or standoffs are frequently the result.  It doesn’t have to come to blows to be war.  Just the motivation to undermine someone else is war because it keeps both individuals in a state of conflict. 

 We may not be able to end war in a day but, what we can do is take this day to consciously practice peace with those closest to us.  

Here are my top five Go-To’s for keeping the family peace:

1    1.    Use Humor
When someone in our family is being unpleasant we often place a stuffed Grumpy doll (I found in my daughters toy collection) in a spot they are sure to go to soon.  A Grinch figurine or even a picture would work just as well.  

2.     Show Concern
When people are out of sorts they usually save their release for family. We come home and seem rude or insensitive to the very people who love us the most.  Instead of responding with criticism, try asking, “what’s going on” and then listen attentively. 

3.  Don’t fuel the fire
People tend to respond to other’s behavior with the same degree of force.  So, when a teenager doesn’t get her way and spits out those words, “I hate living here,” and dad spits back, “don’t talk to your mother that way!” and Mom joins in raising her voice, “you don’t know how lucky you are.”  The teen has little conscious choice but to defend her position with even greater zeal.  Before you know it, a little flame has been fanned into a bon fire.  Try maintaining your calm.  It’s extremely effective in defusing a situation. 

 4.   No one wins when there’s a loser
Nothing creates a power struggle more quickly than fear of losing an argument.   It doesn’t even matter what the topic is.  If one person “wins” at the expense of the other, the “loser” is going to feel resentful.   If we are willing, a compromise can always be made so that each person gets some of what he wants or needs.   (**This is especially important for parents to model for their children.  Not only will it improve parent child relations but it will give them the tools for being successful in their future relationships). 

 5.  Stay on Topic
People tend to use past grievances to support their current argument, but instead of proving their point they simple create a whole new topic to argue. 

You may ask yourself, “why should I be the one to have to initiate peace?  I’m not the problem.”  Well, someone has to start.  Someone has to lead.  It doesn’t matter who “the problem” is.  Each of us can choose to be the solution.  As people experience peaceful resolution in their own lives they will be likely to apply these tools themselves.    

For more information on International Peace Day go to
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