The world has been loud and getting louder. And while there have been many voices calling for changes to bring about more peace, the increasing unrest has really tugged at my heart. The pain that so many exhibit. The odds stacked against so many. The failing values, the increasing selfishness, and the overwhelming inequity of the world: all make my heart ache. And so I turn to my most important calling, because that is what I can control right now. As a mother, how can I raise peacemakers in a chaotic world?
Of course it’s good, even great, to reach out in our communities, to do what we can to love, to listen, to advocate. But at the end of the day the most influence that I have, as a mother, is with my kids in our home, and I do not want bypass the opportunity to train my kids young to be disciples of Christ. I truly believe the Proverb: “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” So in this post I’ll focus on what I’m doing to train my children to be peacemakers.
Our Monthly Theme
As I listened to this sermon a few weeks ago, the Holy Ghost spoke to my heart. And I realized I need to teach my kids to be peacemakers. It’s something I have thought about before. I often weave peacemaking ideas into our lives. But sitting there, I had a strong desire to make “I Am a Peacemaker” our new month’s value. (Learn more about our monthly values.) I wanted to make being a peacemaker the focus of our learning, our aspirations. And so this month, that’s what our family is talking about.
Peace in Christ
Putting Christ at the head of our monthly themes always helps me stay centered. When we pull back the layers of any principle that we study as a family, I want it to reveal the Savior. He is the heart of it all, the Light of the World. So at the root of my work to raise peacemakers is the example He gave us, but mostly, the peace that is available when we rely on Him. His promise is true, “I give you peace, the kind of peace only I can give. It isn’t like the peace this world can give” (John 14:27).
To raise peacemakers I read stories with my kids about Jesus. We talk about what He would do. I pray for peace in our home. I teach my children to pray and rely on Him for help with their struggles. He is the source of all peace and I have noticed that the more we talk about Him, the less chaotic our home is. And then we’re all more able to cope with chaos when it descends upon us in one form or another–like when somebody doesn’t get enough sleep and causes lots of difficulties throughout the day.
Peace in Our Relationships
Kids don’t purposefully add contention to relationships, and they are quick to forgive and forget, but they are also impulsive. This is where role-playing comes in. Role-playing scenarios can shift their impulses from sudden anger surges to compassion. It takes practice (for all of us!), but role-playing is a great way to strengthen relationships by teaching us all to pause and take time to think about another person’s feelings and needs. This has been so helpful in our home, and I know it will help my kids as they grow up and have more and more relationships with people outside of our home.
Adding Peace to Our Communities
I love to teach my kids to look around and notice people around them. We discovered Stories Told by Mother Teresa, abridged and illustrated by Allan Drummond. This is a fantastic book for encouraging kids (and their parents) to do simple things to help their neighbors. It’s full of beautiful illustrations and short, quickly digestible, stories. I highly recommend it for great ideas and encouragement in doing simple Christ-like acts. You can find it here, but I’ll warn you that it’s pretty expensive.
I hope some of these ideas help you to find some added peace in your home. Do you have any other ideas for raising peacemakers?