Our value of the month at METNS is peacefulness. This holiday season in particular, following a time of turbulence, we welcome the opportunity to spend time with family and close friends, to relax and to reflect. However scaled down our gatherings, a break from our busy schedules is a welcome retreat and a chance to celebrate our shared values and to express our thankfulness to others through gestures of appreciation.
At this time of year, we traditionally think about peace. People send holiday cards with messages of peace written on them in attractive lettering and seasonal colours. Some have idyllic peaceful natural scenes of snowy nights and animals in the woods. At the darkest time of year, we bring brightness and hope through traditional festivals of light.
Why Peacefulness Matters:
What is peacefulness? Peacefulness is an inner sense of calm. It comes especially in quiet moments of reflection or gratitude. It is a way of approaching conflict with others so no-one is made wrong. It is being fair to others and to yourself. Peace matters and is worth cherishing. It facilitates mediation and growth, enhances relationships and creates a space where humans can flourish.
Peacefulness and our School:
A value is a principle that guides your thinking and behaviour. How does a focus on Peacefulness do this? Practising peacefulness helps to create a calm mind, free from worry. When you are peaceful, you respect others and their differences. People around you feel safe and calm.
At METNS, the Weaving Wellbeing programme helps children to understand the importance of resilience to their well-being. Practising mindfulness for inner peace is one of the six tools of resilience explored. The children learn that mindfulness practice can be used daily to create a sense of inner calm and wellness.
Holiday season 2020 will be about remembering those we have lost, celebrating those we love, in whatever way we can, and looking forward to positive times ahead. To this end, make it your goal this December to be a peacemaker. Use peaceful language and think of creative ways to solve problems and to avoid conflict. When we are agents of peace, we spread hope and light in the world. The poet Maya Angelou reminds us of this in ‘Amazing Peace – A Christmas Poem’, which, though written in one tradition, brings a beautiful message to us all:
“Hope spreads around the earth, brightening all things, even hate which crouches breeding in dark corners”.
AMAZING PEACE: A Christmas Poem
by Maya Angelou
Thunder rumbles in the mountain passes
And lightning rattles the eaves of our houses.
Flood waters await us in our avenues.
Snow falls upon snow, falls upon snow to avalanche
Over unprotected villages.
The sky slips low and grey and threatening.
We question ourselves.
What have we done to so affront nature?
We worry God.
Are you there? Are you there really?
Does the covenant you made with us still hold?
Into this climate of fear and apprehension, Christmas enters,
Streaming lights of joy, ringing bells of hope
And singing carols of forgiveness high up in the bright air.
The world is encouraged to come away from rancor,
Come the way of friendship.
It is the Glad Season.
Thunder ebbs to silence and lightning sleeps quietly in the corner.
Flood waters recede into memory.
Snow becomes a yielding cushion to aid us
As we make our way to higher ground.
Hope is born again in the faces of children
It rides on the shoulders of our aged as they walk into their sunsets.
Hope spreads around the earth. Brightening all things,
Even hate which crouches breeding in dark corridors.
In our joy, we think we hear a whisper.
At first it is too soft. Then only half heard.
We listen carefully as it gathers strength.
We hear a sweetness.
The word is Peace.
It is loud now. It is louder.
Louder than the explosion of bombs.
We tremble at the sound. We are thrilled by its presence.
It is what we have hungered for.
Not just the absence of war. But, true Peace.
A harmony of spirit, a comfort of courtesies.
Security for our beloveds and their beloveds.
We clap hands and welcome the Peace of Christmas.
We beckon this good season to wait a while with us.
We, Baptist and Buddhist, Methodist and Muslim, say come.
Come and fill us and our world with your majesty.
We, the Jew and the Jainist, the Catholic and the Confucian,
Implore you, to stay a while with us.
So we may learn by your shimmering light
How to look beyond complexion and see community.
It is Christmas time, a halting of hate time.
On this platform of peace, we can create a language
To translate ourselves to ourselves and to each other.
At this Holy Instant, we celebrate the Birth of Jesus Christ
Into the great religions of the world.
We jubilate the precious advent of trust.
We shout with glorious tongues at the coming of hope.
All the earth’s tribes loosen their voices
To celebrate the promise of Peace.
We, Angels and Mortals, Believers and Non-Believers,
Look heavenward and speak the word aloud.
Peace. We look at our world and speak the word aloud.
Peace. We look at each other, then into ourselves
And we say without shyness or apology or hesitation.
Peace, My Brother.
Peace, My Sister.
Peace, My Soul.