"Peace" is a word we use often in our communities here at The Children's House. As Maria Montessori developed her theory and practice, she came to believe that education was key to the development of world peace. She felt that children allowed to develop in accordance with their inner laws would give rise to a more peaceful and enduring civilization. From the 1930's to the end of her life, she gave a number of lectures and addresses on the subject, saying in 1936, "Preventing conflicts is the work of politics; establishing peace is the work of education."
This peace is not to be confused with being a pacifist, avoiding conflict, or letting someone control your every action. It is a way to be confident in your choices, to be understanding of another's point of view, to have the ability and desire to find compromise when there is a difference of opinion, and remaining calm and expressing yourself.
Each person's definition of Peace is slightly different. Whatever your definition, it is important to realize that peace is something which is far easier to destroy than to create. Sometimes it takes considerable effort to make peace. Then there are times when it only takes a few words. Sometimes it can be done by yourself, but other times peace simply cannot be accomplished alone. Regardless of when or how, building peace requires thought and practice and it is always worth sharing with others.
In each community, we practice acts of grace and courtesy that form and strengthen the bonds between us. These connections are what we use to define what peace means to each of us. Do all you can to help your child establish connections with the world around him or her. Start simply. A child can always understand that which he can hold in his hand. Pick up trash when you see it. Show your child that it is our human responsibility to protect life. Before you swat that fly or step on that ant, consider if there might be another way. Hold the door for others. Greet strangers with eye contact and a cheerful hello or good morning. Donate food, clothes, money and your time to those in need. Help children understand and value the life they have by exposing them to other countries less fortunate than ours. These are just a few examples of peace-building experiences. We would love to hear your own!