by Adam Jacobs
Kids Creative is a peace education organization. That sounds nice, but what is peace education?
Peace is a very abstract concept and means something different to everyone, so how can we educate for something that doesn't have a universal definition? We break down peace into two definable concepts: 1) stopping violence and 2) establishing a space where violence doesn't have to happen.
In fact there is an academic field of peace education (yes, that is something that exists...at least I hope so, I have a Masters Degree in it!). The founders of that field explain that there are two types of peace: Negative peace and Positive peace. Negative peace is stopping a fight, ending a war, and generally putting a cessation to violence.
Positive peace is establishing a space where the necessary tools are in place so that alternatives to violence are the norm, rather than the exception.
At Kids Creative, we call these Reactive and Proactive peace. Instead of always reacting to violence, we want to establish a community where we proactively seek out peace for all participants, staff and parents. We do this through staff training, key rules, considering all aspects of our environment, and creating guidelines for how participants should interact with each other.
One example of a Proactive Peace rule is "No fake teasing". Fake teasing means that the person who feels that they are being teased has the power to tell the other person/people that they don't like what was said or how it was said, we give them the tools and space to speak about it and work out their conflict, and we work with them to identify ways to avoid this conflict in the future.
There are many ways to establish peace in our programs, and while it is not an easy task, it is essential for the long haul.
by Adam Jacobs
ALL IDEAS ARE GOOD...THE KIDS CREATIVE MOTTO
Really? Are you sure? ALL ideas are good? Every single one?
The answer is yes. All ideas have worth, all ideas are important and all ideas should be validated. An important note: an idea is very different than an action. There can be bad actions, dangerous actions, destructive actions, but all ideas? Good.
Here’s why. It’s not about the idea, it’s about the way the person feels about their idea and the way we react to the idea. Expressions of ideas can be difficult, intimidating. Reactions to ideas can make or break a relationship. Sharing an idea is actually sharing part of ourselves, making ourselves vulnerable to the judgements of others.
When a person has an idea in their head, it only affects them. It’s in their head until it becomes action. How we react to the idea can affect our relationship with that person. If we say “All ideas are good”, we’re saying that our reaction needs to be affirming and positive first. Editing ideas and making them positive actions is the next step.