In October, I was happily surprised to find out that I was elected by my class to be a peacemaker in school. When my mommy came to be the mystery reader, Ms. Jannasch told her about the good news. I thought it was such a funny coincidence because mommy and daddy are working with Uncle Harry and Auntie Nancy on a peacemaking program for kids, too.
I did not know what to expect being a peacemaker. I had to attend 3 different 2-hour training sessions first. They taught us about feelings, needs and gave us tools, such as “I” messages, “clean-up” phrases, and “stop & breathe” techniques to help people solve their problems.
Now I work every Wednesday during recess to help people settle their differences on campus. I get to wear a neon yellow vest with neon orange stripes and carry a “peace path” script chart. When someone sees a problem, they can come and call peacemakers on duty to help. I would walk over calmly with my partner and ask them, “do you need our help?” I patiently wait for their response and ask them again, “Are you ready to solve this peacefully?” When they do, I take them to the 7-step peace path already painted on the playground and help them walk through each step.
When the fighting parties stand on the first step, I will help them take turns talking about his/her feelings using an “I” message. Then, I help them acknowledge and repeat the other person’s feelings. Next, they take turn talking about their needs and how they would behave differently next time. Finally, when they reach the last step of the peace path, they need to shake hands and leave in peace.
Once, my friend Z and H were fighting over how to play a game. I ask H to tell us how he felt.
“I feel bad when people don’t listen to me,” H first said.
“I know you feel bad when people don’t listen to you. I feel hurt when people yell at me!” Z responded.
“I know you feel hurt when people yell at you,” H said. Then, I help Z to ask H how she can make things better. They both said that they needed some time and space to regroup. Then, I asked my friends, “From now on, what will you do differently?” They both said, “From now on, I will listen to you better.”
“Is there anything else?” I asked. They didn’t have any other issues, so I asked them to shake hands and reported back to the teacher that we solved the problem.
I like being a peacemaker. I wish I get to help more people, but my sister says that now with peacemakers on duty, nobody wants to fight anymore. I guess that is a good thing too!