On this International Day of Peace, I seek solace and comfort in songs of peace, as I cry for the lack of it’s prevelance in our world. How can we feel any sort of peace when we are bombarded by so much hate around us. I will not dwell on the hate. I will be aware of it because it is real, and I will actively promote that which could connect us instead of divide us.
I know I feel it when we connect our voices in singing songs of peace together. These are a few of my favorites we have sung in our Kindermusik classes and at my daughter’s Montessori school here in Lakeland.
As I was gathering them for you, tears rolled down my face, as I remember the feelings that overwhelmed me at times when we sang these songs together.
Today, children in Montessori schools all around the world are singing this beautiful song of peace together. Click here to see the map on the website of those singing peace. Maria Montessori believed the best chance for peace was to start with our youngest people, and to give them the tools to promote peace for life. In the primary grades, it starts with this beautiful song, so children could have a song of peace in their hearts and minds they can sing for themselves, and with others. How would it be if every child, everyday, began learning together by singing together about peace?
Singing together like this is transformational, at every age. Have you experienced this? Do you still get the chance to do so, or do you miss it? I have felt the total emersion of my soul while singing in harmony with a large choir. I miss it, but I simply do not have the time committment it takes to be part of a formal choir at the moment.
I love to sing together with my friends in Kindermusik, and it is one of my greatest joys to hear a child joyfully singing along with us… Every. Single. Child… Every. Single. Time. I LOVE to hear the adults singing as well… even when they are not singing on key… even if they feel they can’t sing. Because I know that there is a song inside everyone waiting for it’s chance to come out and be heard.
Singing together isn’t required to be about perfection… at it’s best, it is more about CONNECTION. And that is what is at the heart of singing with our children, whether it is a song of peace, a song about dogs, or a song about cleaning up. Your child wants to hear your voice, your delightful silly songs, your calming lullabies, and even your made up sing-songy dialogue about what is happening in the moment.
As you sing together with your child throughout your daily routines, you may find they are transformed into sequences of interactive loving connections that make the day more likely to flow joyfully, instead of fighting transitions from one activity to another. Peace… begins at home. (Kindermusik just makes it easier.)
Let it begin with me. There is a lot to learn about the practical application of peace. PEACE is a wonderful overarcing concept that has a lot of complexities in it’s actual development. We can dream, wish, and pray for it… but this, alone, will not make it happen.
Peace will not develop on it’s own… not in the world, not in ourselves, and not in our children. It is in our day-to-day interactions, with ourselves and with others, that are filled with moments of conflict and of peace. It is our greatest human achievement to learn how to approach conflict with an open mind, with a commitment to a peaceful process, and a commitment to an outcome where everyone can learn, grow, and thrive. (Yes, Maria Montessori is a strong influence on my perspective.)
This process of peace begins at home. The interactions we have with our children, with each member of our family are the training grounds for our approach to conflict. And I guarantee you, it WILL include conflict… daily. Some days more than others. That is reality. The idea of a peaceful life free of conflict is an illusion. Consider it more of an ebb and flow, with our peaceful approach to conflict tipping the balance for more joyful and connected moments with our families.
We are all individuals with unique personalities, temperments, goals, and ways of doing things. Even though YOUR way is right and comfortable for YOU, it is not necessarily right and comfortable for everyone, even your own child. Sometimes, as a parent, it is baffling how our very own children can be SOOO different than ourselves. Absolutely, overwhelmingly BAFFLING! So many stories pop into mind. How about yours? I’ll bet you can think of your top three differences between you and your child in the last week that have sparked some kind of conflict. Conflict is not comfortable, so we must approach conflict with a strong belief that the process of peace is worth an adjustment of our comfort zone.
Like me with my children, you have to keep telling yourself… “different does not mean wrong… confict does not occur to upset me” Conflict occurs when there is a difference of opinions, often brought about by a lack of connection, or lack of communication between two different personalities. MOST OFTEN, when a child acts out, this behavior is the only way they know to communicate something, even if they are simply communicating they no longer feel connected. They feel lost and confused, and not good enough to be loved. Like me, you may want to stop, and breath deeply, and remind yourself…. “I can do this… I am committed to creating a peaceful process that respects both of us, so that my child will learn these skills as well.” YES! You say this to yourself, even if you don’t have a clue what will come next. YES! It makes a difference. (The rest of these skills can be addressed at a different time. And yes, Becky Bailey, and many others influence my approach.) And trust me… just because I believe it, does not make it EASY. Making it happen well… in the moment with my own child…. is tricky… not perfect. But it is SOOOO worth it when it does work well and we are able to connect even more deeply.)
When we take the time to really SEE and respect each unique individual, the true beauty of each person can emerge. We really wouldn’t want to have it any other way. Not really deep down. This is how peace happens. Let it begin with me.
Through my Kindermusik and Montessori experiences, I have been exposed to songs of peace from various cultures and styles, enriching my vision of peace. Sometimes, the music goes far beyond the words to fill the heart, soul, and mind with peace in a way that words cannot do justice. Hearing and singing Shalom Haverim brings me such a deep feeling of peace, even in my darkest moments. Along with several families who were with me at the time, I have such vivid memories of those classes, right after the tragedies of 9-11, when I led us to sing this song together. I still cry when I think about it.
I will continue to sing it when hate hits so close to home, to help refocus on the feeling of peace, and the important process of peace. Will you sing with me?
What songs do you sing to create that feeling of peace? I seriously am looking for your help to gather songs of peace… songs that sing peace from your culture or heritage… songs that sing peace from your unique perspective… songs we can teach our children so we can all sing peace together, with all generations.
There should be a song as well known, and sung as widely and enthusiastically, as Jingle Bells or Twinkle, Twinkle Little Start, that promotes PEACE for us all that is inclusive for everyone. What do you think? What song would you recommend?