Peacemaking – November’s Virtue of the Month

Every month at our E-CSLIT meetings, we highlight our board’s virtue of the month.  This month’s virtue is peacemaking.

At the beginning of each E-CSLIT meeting, Michael Consul gives a short speech about the monthly virtue.  Here it is below for your reference.  Feel free to use, copy, print, photocopy, adjust, edit, review.  For example, you could retell it to your class, email it to your friends, take exerts out of it to share with others, find quotes within it to tweet… basically whatever you want… it’s yours.

Enjoy!

If this is your 1st time at E-CSLIT this year clap once (clap)

If this is your 2nd time at E-CSLIT this year clap twice (clap clap)

If you think your catapult is going to beat every other school clap 3 times (clap clap clap) – I hear defending champion Paschal Baylon isn’t ready to give up that title yet

If you remember October’s virtue of the month clap once (clap)

If you remember what MP stands for clap twice (clap clap)

If you think your teacher is super awesome for taking time out of their busy lives to take you to E-CSLIT clap 3 times (clap clap clap)

Alright, here’s the test, as a group answer this question, “What was October’s virtue of the month?” (Gratitude).

Here’s another one, if you text someone the letter “MP” what does it stand for? (My Pleasure).

Awesome, because remember, what you focus on EXPANDS… let me say it one more time, help me finish the sentence… “What you focus on… (expands)”

So remember all this because it all ties into this month’s virtue which is… (peace-making).

One of my heros, Blessed Mother Teresa is quoted for saying, “I was once asked why I don’t participate in anti-war demonstrations.  I said that I will never do that, but as soon as you have a pro-peace rally, I’ll be there.”

Like I said, what you focus on… (expands).  Basically, what Mother Teresa was saying was that we shouldn’t be focusing on “War”, we should be focusing on “Peace.”

So how do you do that?  How do you become a peacemaker?  One of the best ways to that is to Listen.

Raise your hand if you’re familiar with the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People/Teens?  Awesome, so help me out.  Habit 5 is seek first to understand than to be… (understood). Okay, one more time, everybody now, habit 5 is… seek first to understand, then to be understood).

So basically what that means is to LISTEN first before forming an opinion.

So the easiest way to be good peacemaker is to be good listener.

Think about all the arguments that wouldn’t occur if the other person just listened to you first before blowing up on you.

Better yet, think of all the times you wouldn’t have done what you did if you just took the times to listen first yourself.

Let me give you an example.  I was teaching grade 9 at Blessed Mother Teresa and I was super strict on uniform and attendance.  If you were late, even for 5 seconds, I’d close the door and you’d have to get a late slip.

If you weren’t in perfect uniform, get out of my class.

So it was the first week of school, and I’m setting all my expectations on the first day.  The next day, 3 people are late and 4 are out of uniform.  Ahh, I’m like, not big deal, I’ll let it pass.  Thursday comes around, 2 people are late and 5 people are out of uniform… I’m like people, you’re in high school now, you’re not babies.  Be in uniform and be on time.  And I’m like, I’m serious, tomorrow, don’t bother coming to my class if you’re late or not in uniform.  That door will remain open until the bell rings.  If it’s closed, do NOT knock on it because that means your late and you better be in proper uniform if you enter that door.

So Friday comes around, everyone’s on time and every looks super in their uniform, but there’s one kid absent… so I close the door and start class.

After about 16 minutes, someone knocks on the door and it’s Inga, the girl who was absent, I see her through the door window.  So I give her the “L” sign indicating that she’s late and do this (thumb), indicating she needs to go to the office… as I shake my head.

After 30 seconds, I hear this again (knock), but this time a little louder… and it’s Inga again, and now I notice she’s wearing a yellow sweater which is of course not part of the uniform… so I motion the same two gestures (L and thumb) and mouth,  “Go to the office.”

Another 20 seconds goes by, and she starts knocking even louder, and I’m like, what is wrong with this kid.  I’m started to get flustered now, and how’s she’s distracting the whole class, how I’m losing my train of thought, and I’m like, that’s it, I’m going to give it to this kid.

So I quickly walk to the door, and say, ‘DO YOU REALLY EXPECT ME TO LET YOU IN CLASS IF YOU’RE LATE AND YOU’RE OUT OF UNIFORM.  I’VE BEEN TELLING EVERYONE SINCE DAY ONE, COME TO MY CLASS ON TIME, AND COME INTO MY CLASS IN PERFECT UNIFORM. GET YOURSELF TO THE OFFICE RIGHT NOW.

So then she started to tear up a bit and left crying.  I felt kinda bad but I was like, you know what, she needs to learn a lesson plus it shows the class that I mean business.

Lunch time rolls around and I’m in the staff room warming up my lunch and I hear some other teachers talking about Inga, so my ears perk up.  So I go over to them and say, “My God, I can’t believe that kid…” and start explaining what happened this morning.

All of a sudden I see this blank look on their faces, and I’m like, “What?”

Apparently, 6pm last evening Inga’s mother had a stroke and so being the only child and having no dad, she spent the entire night in the hospital and didn’t go home and just came straight to school.  On top of that, when her mother collapsed she spilled some stuff on Inga’s uniform staining her white shirt, but in the rush of everything wasn’t able to change before the ambulance came and didn’t go home this morning before coming to school.

And my heart just sunk… and thought to myself, you are the biggest bonehead… and all I wanted to do is find her and apologize. Luckily, I didn’t have to look to far, because her other teachers let her miss class and take a nap in the nurses office.

So I ended up staying with her and waited until she woke up to apologize.

We worked it out but, it’s an incident that shouldn’t have happened in the first place.

Only if I practiced habit 5 which is… everybody… (seek first to understand, then to be understood).

If only I “listened” first… and because I didn’t, I wasn’t spreading peace or love, I was doing the opposite.

So the easiest way to become a peace maker is to be a good listener.  And to seek 1st.

Because when you do this, you’re focusing on you CAN do, vs. what you can’t.  And you’re also focusing on what you CAN control.

The only thing you can really control is yourself and what’s immediately in front of you at the moment.  So if we all focus on making peace in front of us, even if our circles collide, because we’re seeking 1st and listening, our interactions will result in peace… smiles vs tears.

Let me end off with 2 last quotes by Blessed Mother Teresa.

“If everybody cleaned their own doorstep, the whole world would be clean.”
And…

“Peace begins with a smile.”

So focus on peace.  Clean your own doorstep.  Remember to listen as you seek first, you can start with a smile.

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