Thursday, December 22, 2011

Peace On Earth Discovered Right Near By

Photo by Kristen Sanderson
For the past couple of weeks I've been wondering what an appropriate story may be for Christmas Eve and this holiday season. I think I've found it, which is finding peace.

One of the greatest blessings we all have this holiday season is the fact that the last convoy of U.S. soldiers pulled out of Iraq on Sunday, ending nearly nine years of war. Full Story.  What could be better than the gift of Peace for the holidays?

As a 4-H Youth Development Agent, with every kid we reach and child we teach our goal is to impart instruction in life skills so as to make a long lasting, positive impact in a child's life that with culminate in positive behavior change.  In 4-H we typically think of the Life Skill Model most memorable attributes of Leadership, Citizenship, Record Keeping, etc.  On the other sides of the Skill Wheel are categories of Caring, Relating and Living which include the skills of empathy, concern for others and stress management.  These are some of the life skills of peace, and there are others.

One of my fellow outdoor bloggers, March of March's Outdoor Adventures wrote about this putting it in a spiritual context. He goes to the woods to find peace and clarity and to communicate with God. His article, What You Can Learn In The Outdoors, prompted me to consider, "What are we doing to teach the critical attributes of Relating, Caring and Sharing with the youth that we reach?"  In a Scouting program, those similar qualities might be included in the Scout Laws friendly, courteous, kind and reverent - also peaceful skills.

In our instruction we can make significant strides in teaching these softer life skills by emphasizing teamwork and cooperation, as might be part of a group project.  Concern for others can be taught when an older, more experienced young adult steps into a teaching position to help a brand new fly fisherman learn to cast or archer to shoot their bow.  Stress management can be taught through imparting words of wisdom in thoughts of the day or by simply making lanyards at camp or by sitting on a dock holding a fishing pole with their feet dangling down.  All children need these skills, not just so that they have them in adulthood, but so as to cope with the stresses they find themselves in now.  I challenge my readers to leave the house this holiday season and go to a nearby park or waterfront to seek inward peace, and then share that with someone you know.

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