by Jenny Dinoia
On Saturday September 17th, there was the 4th annual Peace in the Park Festival in Golden Gate Park. The event was geared for people of all ages but there were many children’s activities and stations. I was drawn to one table that had books by Diane Tillman that shared activities to co-create peace for children.
The kind woman at the boothe told me the author,who has spent her life dedicated to this subject, was giving a talk later that afternoon. I immediately knew I had to stay to hear her words of wisdom.
I sat in an intimate and quiet meditation room with about 25 other people and heard Diane Tillman speak of her many experiences around the world, including war torn countries. She shared how important it was for adults to learn to model peaceful behavior so the future generation can thrive.
I have worked with children for over 10 years in various settings. Creating a peaceful environment has been, by far, the most challenging task. What do you do when a child bites another child? Or a child repeatedly hits another child for no apparent reason?
I have worked with enough children to know it’s not always the parents or home environment to blame. Sometimes the parents of these children are amazing and you wonder what is going on. Sometimes it is nature or who knows? So, how do you solve these situations? It’s a fascinating question.
I had a client who wrote for the TV series Law and Order and she said people are fascinated with violence because it has always existed in mankind and probably always will. For now, no one has figured out how to create peace in the world. They say to create world peace we must each have internal peace every day and within our families and communities. I have not mastered this task but maybe if we each try each day to do our best we can one day IMAGINE… as John Lennon sang many years ago.
Yoga means union. Yoga is to quiet the mind so we may be a witness, a peaceful witness to the thoughts and yes war in the world. We end Naam Yoga classes with the mantra Shanti which means peace. Most people want peace but if we can’t have peace on Earth how can we expect it with our children and in a classroom setting?
Diane Tillman gave very simple and direct instructions in her talk. To create peace for our children we must model peace in our behavior.
Diane Tillman spoke of a great tool for the home and classroom: Build A Peace Tent.
In recent research, it was found that time-outs for young children were ineffective and are now frowned upon.
Diane Tillman recommended each classroom and home have a peace tent. This tent could have comfortable pillows, dim lighting, stuffed animals, soothing music… When a child (or even you) feels they are not so peaceful inside simply say, “hmmm… why don’t you go to the peace tent and ponder how you can make the situation better.”
As the peace tent doesn’t have a punitive connotation it allows the child (and maybe YOU) to take a moment to just breathe and come out refreshed, with a positive idea. Dr. Levry said that in 2016 especially it was vital not to react. Ah, what precious wisdom but maybe not so easy to actually implement. If you are upset it is best to wait until you find neutrality. In other words, it is best that you go to your peace tent.
A peace tent could be a literal tent in your home, even for adults without children. The tent could also be a metaphorical place or activity that brings you to your zen place. It could be your time when you take a bath with essential oils and candles or a special corner in your home for a meditation alter or place of prayer. As we go to our “peace tent”, remember it is important to see the whole world as our family and treat others with kindness.
Modeling peace is one of the most WILD things you can do. I dare you to try it.
Until the next time and remember to stay WILD!