On making peace

HB

4th of July parade 2015 in Huntington Beach, California

Outrage does not help, yet we have more of it than I have ever seen in a field of people aspiring to be our next president. This situation does not bode well for any of us.

We have an urgent need to make peace in our society. I notice that we do not teach peacemaking, in spite of its practical value, and its urgency.

I will share some thoughts in this post about peacemaking. In Care of the Soul Thomas Moore uses the phrase “a richly expressive and meaningful life at home and in society.” He adds, “In care of the soul, we ourselves have both the task and the pleasure of organizing and shaping our lives for the good of the soul.”

A richly expressive and meaningful life inclines us to be peaceful. I think the central notion here is that of being richly expressive. This blog is one indicator I use to measure expressiveness. You may notice that these posts attract almost no comments. Facebook, although brimming with content, shows me almost nothing that I consider richly expressive. Facebook is an extended version of a college dormitory bulletin board. It signifies nothing, but is noisy.

I suspect most of us neglect our soul work, and that means we have little or no access to richness of experience, both personal and shared.

The subtitle of Moore’s book mentions cultivating depth and sacredness in everyday life. I believe that is central to the work of making peace.

In The Courage to Teach, Parker Palmer explains how love is essential for educational reform. He writes of teachers who “love education too much to let it sink to its lowest form—and whether they know it or not—they are sparking a movement for educational reform by deciding to live divided no more.” These teachers who are making a difference do not use anger and defiance as the tools of their trade. Instead, they are richly expressive of love and idealism.

I suggest that our public school system as a whole is not only the most significant resource this nation has, but that it is the best single field of practice for a loving and courageous effort to make things better for all of us. We can practice making peace in that environment, and the need is great.

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