Mary’s Peace Day Message
September 23, 2019
Today we celebrate the eighteenth year of Montessori School of Westfield’s vision of peace for everyone both here and abroad. We are singing and celebrating with Montessori Schools around the world. This peace pole is the very first of seven we purchased the year after 9/11. The four languages on this peace pole are English, Spanish, Mandarin Chinese and American Sign Language.
Montessori was a genius and ahead of her time with her vision of peace and education for all children. Montessori said that much of our inner turmoil exists because a belief has persisted that it is the duty of us as adults to raise the child according to society. “This misunderstanding caused strife between teachers and pupils.” Montessori says, “The child who has never learned to act alone, to direct his own actions, to govern his own will, grows into an adult who is easily led and must always lean upon others.” We follow Montessori’s model of teaching students to be in control of their actions. To look within and reflect upon their own spirit of peace. We educate students to ask themselves if they are being kind to each other and to themselves. More than ever, in this day and age, our students need adults and peers who are committed to love and peace among their fellow men. My staff and I are committed to that specific way of teaching peace by being peaceful ourselves.
Montessori School of Westfield practices peace every day in our classrooms. Students have a peace table or a peace area where they may go to and work out their challenges with their classmates. My prayer is that they will go out into the community and make a difference. A difference could easily be a smile or pick something up for a stranger. Or, be a friend to the student with a disability. The International Day of Peace is the perfect time for us to focus on peace in our classroom. One day a year is not enough. Peace and kindness has to happen everyday all day even when we do not feel peaceful. Real peace in the world must start with the children. I am very passionate when it comes to building a strong foundation of love and peace, for our children of the future. As an administrator, I am deeply aware that we must teach and model peace, even when we are in the midst of chaos. It is our job as mentors and role models to teach the children positive ways of dealing with challenges and difficulties as they occur. It is in the home and classroom where adults are in the best position to promote peace and foster consideration for others. As teachers and parents we promote peace through our own behavior. Adults provide young people with models of respect, empathy, and consideration, for others. The journey for children to become empathetic adults is a slow and difficult one. Montessori strives to open the eyes of the child so that he can see the differences of others and perceive the world through the eyes of others.
I say this every year it is my prayer to guide all children to a place where they will have the spiritual courage to stand up for injustice, out of love, and not just out of tolerance. And, with that same courage, to reach out to their friends and community, spreading their gifts of kindness and peace. Maria Montessori said, preventing conflict is the work of politics, establishing peace is the work of education. Peace is the simplicity of spirit, the serenity of conscience, and the harmony and joy within each of us.
I ask of all of you today to be conscious of how you model peace in your home, in your car, and in your community. We can be the change the world needs. Peace may look a little different to everyone. To me, it doesn’t mean the absence of conflict. That would be an idealized world in which none of us live. Rather, it’s learning how to deal with conflict in a way that doesn’t put the rights, wants, or needs of one person over the other. It’s learning conflict resolution skills that emphasize respect for the individual and the group.
Go Make A difference! We can make a difference! Go make a difference in the world.
Thank you and God Bless!