Raising Peaceful Children: Plan of Action
During the process of writing my blog this months, I’ve shared with you many general ideas about raising peaceful children . Hopefully you’ve been able to put some of these ideas into practice and are having good results. However, while basic principles provide a good place to start, I always like a Plan of Action. And that is what the blog will be about the next few days.
WONDERING…WHAT DOES MOUNTAIN CLIMBING HAVE TO DO WITH PARENTING? Let me share with you an insight I learned this week, from an experienced mountain climber.
I was on a tele-conference call with a mountain climber. He was talking about some of the principles he’s used over the course of many decades climbing mountains and how they relate to teaching children and young people. He said that when you are on the mountain and in the moment of deciding what to do next as you move upward, there are two stages to the process one goes through.
1. Thinking/planning Stage
2. Doing/Action Stage
When you are in the thinking/ planning stage, you determine the course you will take for the next phase of your journey up the mountain. In the doing/ action stage, you execute the plans you put in place during the first phase. AND he said it’s important not to combine the two.
So as you continue on the journey of Raising Children Peaceful, I invite you to put your plan together and then put it into action! Don’t rethink it mid-stream, just do it!
It may flow just perfectly. Or challenges may arise. If you have a child who challenges your new ideas, it may take awhile to see any sign of progress. With challenging children, if you don’t see an immediate change, you may lose confidence that this Plan of Action has any chance of meeting with success. I encourage you to stick to it. By teaching children about your Family Values and putting a plan in place you are planting seeds for both the near future and for times to come.
Over the last decade I have worked with numerous families and have seen that most change takes time. However change does happen and it’s WONDERFUL to observe! It’s so gratifying with you see that children are much more content, cooperative, creative, self-reliant and also happier in general!
The Plan of Action is about creating more peace in everyone’s life. However, it’s about more than that. It’s about building system into your daily life for a deeper connection with your children as well as educating them about your values.
Enjoy! I’d love to get your feedback and hear from you on what works for you and your family.
RAISING PEACEFUL CHILDREN
PLAN OF ACTION - INTRODUCTION
This Plan of Action offers a particular focus for each day of the week. And I invite you to always feel free to adapt it to fit your needs as a family. Each day is unique! Some days will offer ideas for a family gathering, suggestions for an activity.
Some days will offer the opportunity for family members to have alone time, others will focus on doing things together while still others will give you a chance to teach your family values. Some days will be more causal, other more structured. In addition, you’ll have many ideas to choose from so you can fine-tune it especially for your family.
The Plan is designed to be easily built-in to your daily routine and actually provides experiences which nurture each individual as well as strengthen the bond between family members.
If you have limited time, perhaps just begin with doing one activity weekly. Make this YOUR program…YOUR PLAN OF ACTION!
The following are focal points for each day of the week. Also, you could easily change topics to different days. The one thing I do recommend, to as great an extent as possible, is maintaining consistency. This makes it easier to remember each day’s activity. For example, on Monday’s you’ll know, it’s the night for the Peace Pledge.
RAISING PEACEFUL CHILDREN:
PLAN OF ACTION - WEEKLY FOCUS
The following are focal points for each day of the week:
MONDAY: Adopting A Peace Pledge
TUESDAY: Your Family Values
WEDNESDAY: Listening To & Honoring Each Family Member
THURSDAY: Refining Your Action Plan
FRIDAY: Quiet Time For All
SATURDAY: Working and Playing Together
SUNDAY: The Gift of Gratitude
VARIOUS COMPONENTS OF THE PLAN:
FAMILY GATHERING: On some days you’ll be encouraged to come together for a brief time for a specific activity. A good time for many of these activities might be the 30 minutes following dinner. On occasion a gathering might not be possible. Having a systemic plan for coming together with a specific focus makes it easier for each night's activity to take place.
ACTION TIME: On some nights, there will be specific activities which I call Action Time. Examples include: making a poster, drawing pictures, playing a game or singing a song.
EDUCATIONAL TIME: Years ago I learned, and it was truly a gift, that to change a child’s view on a subject, they needed more information. I find this a KEY to reducing the power struggles between parent and child. When a child has new information on a topic they may see it in a different way. Perhaps not, but often education does allow for a change of heart in the child. Likewise, my children have educated me on matters, and I was the one with the change of heart. So, this process can go both ways! I do believe we are all students…and all teachers.
RAISING PEACEFUL CHILDREN - PLAN OF ACTION
MONDAY: Adopting a PEACE PLEDGE
Reading a PEACE PLEDGE is a wonderful way to initial a conversation around Peace and it could easily introduce the subject of Family Values as well. When I found the Peace Pledge on the Kids for Peace website. (see below) I talked about this pledge in my blog this month. (July 5th) This pledge is written simply so children can understand it easily.
If you want, you and your family can write your own pledge. For example, below is one that I have slightly altered.
PEACE PLEDGE BY KIDS FOR PEACE (www.KidsForPeaceGlobal.org)
I pledge to use my words to speak in a kind way.
I pledge to help others as I go throughout my day.
I pledge to care for our earth with my healing heart and hands.
I pledge to respect people in each and every land.
I pledge to join together as we unite the big and small.
I pledge to do my part to create PEACE for one and all.
THE NELSON FAMILY’S ADAPTATION:
I pledge to use my words to speak in a kind and nice way.
I pledge to help others at home and at school. .
I pledge to care for our planet with my healing heart and hands.
I pledge to respect people from all lands, cultures and religions.
I pledge to help in little ways and big ways.
I pledge to do my part to create PEACE at home and wherever I go.
Read the Peace Pledge as a family on Monday’s. Each week focus on a different line of it. (Ex: Line 1/ Week 1- Line 2/ Week 2) Have the children act out what that line means to them. Have an open discussion around the meaning of each line. The more discussion you have concerning the pledge, the more it will become meaningful to your children.
NOTE: See July 25th blog for more about the Peace Pledge
Below are some suggestions that may bring meaning to the pledge for your family. Choose the ones that you think will work for your family.
• Have each person share what they might do to “live” the line during the week.
• Gather some magazines and look for picture to illustrate each line. Glue them on the Pledge.
• Find a community project you want to participate in to help others.
• Join a group such as Boy Scouts or Girls Scouts.
• Have a discussion around various experiences that come to you, such as meeting someone from a different culture, a child with special needs, seeing a homeless person.
Making a study of a PEACE PLEDGE can bring out compassion, caring, kindness, understanding, listening and courage. Enjoy the process!
RAISING PEACEFUL CHILDREN - PLAN OF ACTION
TUESDAY: Your Family Values
When you know the values that you stand for as a family, it’s much easier to see the words, actions and behaviors that align or do not align with your values. In addition, when you decide about the values that are most important to you, then, teaching those values and reinforcing them becomes much easier.
Following are over 21 qualities for you to consider for your family values. Choose eight values that are the most important to you and your spouse.
During the First Week call a family meeting to discuss the 8 values. Talk about what each value is and have the children act out how that quality might be expressed. It’s also fun to have them act out the opposite behavior to the value. For example if COOPERATION was one of your values, have your children act out both COOPERATION and the opposite which you might think of as a hindrance to the situation or being unhelpful.
Then in the following week/s have an open conversation with your children about what values each of them sees as important for the wellness of your family. Perhaps have each person vote on their favorite four values. And this have the most popular values be your core four. As I’ve mentioned at other times, you can always keep the other four as your secondary values. In addition, if a certain situation arises, where you need to stress another values, feel free to bring it into your plan as needed.
HEALTHY LIVING PATIENCE
INNER SILENCE APPRECIATION
NOTE: See July 5th and July 6th blogs for more details on creating your Family Values.
Fold a large piece of paper in half both ways so you have 4 sections. Write one value in each section of the paper. Place it somewhere in your living area so it can be referred to easily. Have the children add a picture to each section relating to the value.
• Choose one of your values for your family meeting. Discuss the value. Act out the value.
• Have each person share how they have practiced or lived that value.
• Brainstorm ways of practicing the value during the coming week.
• Share how you’ve seen other family members use the value during the week.
• Play the "Value Game". During the week, whenever, a family member is “living” the value, call out the word, or say “COOPERATION is happening!”
• Make a family book on each value, by having each person draw a picture of someone living the value. For pre-made hard cover books contact www.barebooks.com
NOTE: Also when you need to address something special that is happening in your family you can bring in other values from the list even if they are not the primary ones your family has chosen.
As an example, if your child does a wonderful deed, bring in the value of SERVICE and discuss, recognizing the child for his behavior. “Catching” kids doing things right is a great incentive for them to continue their efforts.
It's my deepest desire that YOU will find some small idea here to execute in your family that will bring you greater PEACE!