Core Principles for Living in Peace
All programs of One Voice of Peace are founded on four core principles – simple and easily understood, especially by children. Since this is so, we introduce the Four Principles in our program Kids Create Peace. Acquiring such skills early means that children use them as a matter of course. To do so will feel easy and natural. So as they move ahead in school, social and family life, these children bring their ability to avoid conflict to all with whom they work and play. Essentially, they will be altering old social patterns that have not served anyone well. They will be “changing the world.”
Principle 1 – Let’s feel and show some EMPATHY– (As in: Acceptance – Acknowledgement – Respect)
Everyone currently shows up in life as we are, because of all of our accumulated experience, i.e. our genetics, our culture’s traditions, beliefs and artifacts, our environs and circumstances. In other words, circumstances, beliefs and cultural influences shape how everyone thinks, believes, feels, innovates and appears in the world. We each are the sum or result of the totality of our human experience up to NOW.
If things could have been different (in the past), they would have been, and so, would be different now. Therefore, although things are not as we might prefer or wish, they are simply ‘as they are’ due to all the thought, emotion and physical energy that contributed to our creation and present state of being. In the next moment however, with new understanding and right action, transformation occurs.
Principle 2 – Do no harm* : No person would ever have (or will ever) do harm, (or even think of doing harm) to another living being (including themselves), if they possessed full and complete understanding of their emotional and psychological stress. The knowledge of ‘right or wrong’ may not be enough, due to past or present trauma.
Principle 3 – Non-opposition: Being free of attachment to judgment. Observations are part of life, but when held too long, or reacted to, they can become judgments (opinions) – and these can cause separation and conflict. If one is in opposition in thought, word, feeling or action, one is giving one’s energy to what is not wanted or desired. This intensifies conflict, and so does not contribute to the solution or resolution.
Principle 4 – Responsiveness: Ability to respond appropriately (rather than react). As offered here — as a core principle of Kids Create Peace — it means the ability to respond in a way that is to the highest benefit of oneself, of others, and for the circumstances or situation. How we respond (or react) tends to be the result of our experiences, our mindset, psychological or emotional state and of our genetics. We are not “stuck” with these – they are simply our starting-point. Everyone is where they are based on their history. Yet we are not the same person as we once were, as we have matured with new information, new understanding and experience. Simply, we are all capable of growth, change and forgiveness.
These are practical guidelines, not a philosophy. They offer means for living a life free of stress or of alienation from others. As such, we use reaching methods that actively demonstrate the insights and skills that show kids and youth – easily — how to act peacefully, now and in the future, and how to be more responsible and caring.
* An understanding that includes morals, ethics and a mind, heart and psyche that embraces doing no conscious harm (within reason) to others or one’s environment or other sentient creatures.