WAYS YOUR FAMILY CAN PROMOTE PEACE ON EARTH
The phrase “peace on Earth” has been associated with Christmas at least since the King James Bible was printed. After a year where peace has been particularly elusive in this part of Earth called the United States, we all should be making early New Year’s resolutions to promote all the peace we can, starting right now. Here are some practical ways peace on Earth can begin with your household.
- Always take time to listen to others’ points of view—from giving your children a chance to explain what housework they’d like to help with and why and how, to hearing out a televised opinion before you start explaining to everyone within listening range why it’s wrong.
- Inside your home and out, speak as you would be spoken to: no matter how much you disagree, never shout, sneer, or call names. Heed the wise words of Benjamin Franklin: “If you argue and rankle and contradict, you may achieve a victory sometimes; but it will be an empty victory because you will never get your opponent’s good will.”
- Give your children, your coworkers, and your acquaintances permission to be their own best selves. Make it a family rule not to try to mold anyone else into “someone easier to get along with”: all that does is set others more determinedly in annoying habits.
- Drive (or walk) through a neighborhood “different” from your own in ethnicity or income level. Observe the locals and see how their behavior and concerns are similar to your family’s. Buy something from a local business and engage your servers or fellow customers in real conversation. Do bring your whole family on this outing; kids are better than adults at noticing the positive, plus their presence is disarming and they get more leeway for taking long looks.
- Make a pact that every family member will contribute a percentage of their income (including weekly allowances) to some organization active in mediation and/or assisting underprivileged people.
- Do some research on how to help without being patronizing: everyone has their pride, and misguided “assistance” can generate more resentment than peace. (How would you feel to have even a legitimate need met with a condescending smile and a pat on the head—or to have a stranger presume to dictate what’s good for you, or to have a few dollars tossed at you by some richer person who hurries on without looking you in the eye?) Your children can be your best teachers here, too: they’re bound to know firsthand the indignity of “you don’t have the intelligence to know what you need” treatment, delivered with all good intentions by some
- Be at peace with yourself also: appreciate yourself, value yourself, and make the most of your personal strengths. And give yourself permission to be imperfect: most people who pick fights with others are driven by irrational fear of being wrong.
- Know that “peace on Earth” can begin in your own little corner. It only takes a few committed souls to start the momentum!