Peace Begins with Me
by Jennifer Cattell
The Montessori classroom is a place of peace and harmony where young minds engage in learning. Maria Montessori saw hope for “a higher form of civilization” through early childhood education. She said in Education and Peace: “An education capable of saving humanity is no small undertaking; it involves the spiritual development of man, the enhancement of his value as an individual, and the preparation of young people to understand the times in which they live.” Our goal as educators is to guide children to inner peace and help them to live in harmony with each other and respect the rights of others.
How about us adults? What can we do? As an avid reader, I just finished, The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology that Fuels Success and Performance at Work by Shawn Anchor. He believes when we are positive, our brains are more engaged, created, resilient, and productive. He talks about how we can maximize our positive energy and build an internal peace. Also, how if we are positive a positive shell builds around us that reflects negative vibes. You remain focused and engaged with your objectives, “90% of happiness is predicted not by the external world, but the way your brain process the world ”
Happiness leads to inner peace. It is a conscious choice we make. Whatever circumstances we face, we can find a way to be positive and happy. The more positive we are, the more motivated and productive we become.
Positive Thinking + Positive Action = Positive Result
Every person who wants a positive, successful life knows they can’t be happy with a negative mindset. Creating a positive environment is important. Life is 10% of what happens and 90%, how you react to it. When faced with chaos and negativity, react with patience, kindness, forgiveness, and inner peace. Emotions are contagious; be positive.
Positive attitudes can be learned through gratitude. According to psychologist Martin Seligman, Ph.D., everyone can achieve a happy, gratifying, meaningful life. The goal is not simply to have “feel good moments” or to avoid negative experiences, but to build virtues that enable us to find meaning and purpose in our lives. At its essence, to change your thinking from “fix what’s wrong” to “build on your strengths.”
These are a few simple ways you can show appreciation and gratitude every day.
- Keep a gratitude journal. By documenting moments of gratitude, you will be able to reflect on the cumulative effects in your life.
- Instead of a note, email, text, or social media post, express your gratitude verbally. By acknowledging someone in person, you can see their expression and boosts both your days.
- Engage in small acts of kindness. If you see something in public that needs to be picked up or cleaned, do it. If you create a mess in the kitchen, clean it up.
- Commit to not complaining 1 day a week. Focus on solutions only one day a week.
- Help a neighbor. Find opportunities to help others in the community. Volunteer here at MSL while listening to young readers read, mentor a middle schooler, share a hobby with a group of students, and share your profession with a classroom.