Carrie Steckl earned her Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology with a Minor in Gerontology from Indiana University – Bloomington in 2001. She has spent over ...Read More
After the Connecticut shooting tragedy on Friday, December 14, it is difficult to think of much else besides desperate thoughts about how to protect our world’s children and how to make our society a more peaceful, less violent place. Enough has been written about the event itself that I don’t feel the need to rehash the horrific details or postulate what could have driven a human being to do such a thing (whether or not in light of mental illness, albeit that the presence or absence of such an illness plays a large role in how this event is interpreted).
Instead, I want to focus on some positive ways to promote peace in our badly broken world. Here are twenty ideas – some of which originated in my own brain, while others were culled from organizations (and credit is given where it is due). I would love to hear your thoughts regarding what else we can do to try to prevent violence and cultivate peace in our fragile world.
1. Make a personal commitment to nonviolence.
2. When you see someone in trouble, whether he or she is lost, confused, upset, or has fallen, don’t act like you don’t see the person – provide some help.
3. Show a child how to achieve calmness through deep breathing.
4. Show a child how to be kind to animals.
5. Show a child how to be kind to vulnerable people – the homeless, those with physical or cognitive disabilities, older people, and anyone else that appears different to the child.
6. Speak out against prejudice and discrimination when you see it.
7. When you feel angry, count to ten before saying anything. Then, ask yourself what response will be best for the greater good.
8. When you feel slighted, ask yourself if what happened was really about you or if it was about the other person.
9. When you realize that it was about the other person, find in your heart some compassion for that person, realizing that he or she is most surely struggling.
10. Regard people who hurt your feelings as your personal teachers of how to maintain a peaceful nature.
11. If you are a member of a religious community, ask how you can get more involved in promoting peace through its programs and ministries.
12. If you are not a member of a religious community, find a not-for-profit community organization that works toward peaceful communities and volunteer. To get started, search the directory at GuideStar.
13. Share with children the Southern Poverty Law Center’s “Bullying: Tips for Students.“
14. Choose a career that yields only good things for our families, our communities, and our planet.
15. Look people in the eye and smile when you pass them on the street. Better yet, actually say, “Hello.”
16. Become trained in mental health first aid so you can respond to people in mental distress. To learn more about this concept and how to become trained, read my post on this topic.
17. Serve on committees and task forces that work to make your neighborhoods, schools, and workplaces safer.
18. Celebrate successes in the quest for peace and nonviolence.
19. Don’t hide from life. Have faith that there is still an abundance of good in this world.
20. Please share this list with others.