Peace, Beginning with Family
At this time of year when people are talking about the Source of Peace and we often see the quote "Peace on Earth," I would like to suggest a way to develop peace. Attitude and action are closely allied. Within a family is where the beginnings of the development of attitudes of peace are found. The attitude will grow as we deliberately act peaceably.
We are inclined, in this country, to encourage competition as the way to get ahead. Increasingly, this attitude has been copied around the world.
Competition can have a place for growth when there is joy at everyone's success and we make sure that can happen. However, competition as it becomes all-encompassing in one's life means doing anything to win. In sports there is some attempt to keep this extreme out. But more and more it creeps in. Beyond sports, there are those that see working to get what they want, no matter what it does to anyone else, as the greatest way to live. This is a form of violence; of non-peace.
If we are to have peace in our world, beginning in our families, we need to engender an attitude of cooperation, of designing a goal together. So it's not my goal, or your goal, but our goal. That is an over-arching intent. Family members plan together what each needs to do to reach it.
One game might be to gather all kinds of small items like: paper in many colors, string, paper clips, legos, etc., for when your family comes together. Then, without talking, start building a "dream house" that would have everything in it each of the family members would want.
After about 10 minutes, stop and talk about how that went. Who did what? How could it be done better to satisfy everyone's needs, etc? After about 10 minutes discussion, go back to finish your "dream house" again in silence. Give another 10 minutes to finish the house. End up with a look at whether it went differently in the finish-up period. What was satisfying and what was difficult? What did it tell you about how your family cooperates or not? Remember to listen to the response of all members of every age.
There are several games that a family might use to develop an attitude of cooperation. In fact, I have a new "Animal Town" catalogue that offers board games, books, and other equipment for those families that would like to have such things on hand for cooperative and non-competitive family time. This might be a good gift for the family to celebrate the birthday of the Prince of Peace.
I have a few other ideas for some simple activities that there is no space to explain here. You can also search out ideas from other families or make-up your own.