Teaching Peace

Posted on: February 11th, 2015 by jeni No Comments

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Can peace be taught and learned?

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Yes! Peace can be taught and learned by people of all ages and abilities, and all nationalities and faiths. Peace can be introduced and explored through both formal and informal lessons, and also nurtured through play and everyday activities and interactions. Peace can be practiced in schools and homes, offices and places of worship, playgrounds and businesses. Teaching peace is more than just a lesson plan or service project or doing good deeds — it is learning about a way of being. 

 

What impact does studying peace have on our world? 

Teaching peace does not change the world; it is responding to what we learn — about the needs of others, about bullying, about resilience, about collaboration, and more — that creates change. No one person can end war — but every person can practice choosing gentle attitudes and habits, words and actions, and in doing so, begin peace. Peace grows when we learn to reflect and respond to situations, rather than retort and react.

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Why is Mattie’s message a great tool for peace education?

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Children, teens, and adults alike relate to Mattie because he was real. He experienced tragedy and triumph, bullying and blessings, and yet, he loved and celebrated life, relying on a personal philosophy to motivate him during the tough times: “Remember to play after every storm!” Mattie said, “We have, we are, a mosaic of gifts, to nurture, to offer, to accept.” He believed that “Peace is for all people!” and that “Peace is possible — if we choose to learn about peace, and to make peace something that matters for ourselves, for others, and for our world.” 

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Younger children are drawn to his poetry on the seasons and his playful or sensory exploration of the world. Mattie’s “Heartsongs” help children explore purpose and peace, and happiness and hope, in exciting and memorable ways. Many children are inspired to create and share their own Heartsongs — through poetry, peace expressions, art, or photography.

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Teens and adults are also drawn to Mattie’s life story, his peace poetry and essays, and his honest expressions about living with a life-threatening disability and coping with personal loss and global challenges. They are intrigued by Mattie’s use of “mosaic imagery” to illustrate peace, and inspired by his message of tending to basic human needs so that we can each “be okay with who and how we are” — which can lead to learning to “be okay with who and how others are” as well.

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For people of all ages and faiths, Mattie had a way of explaining peace so that it is not only believable, but also desirable and achievable. He moved “peace” from an abstract concept to an embraceable reality and personal choices. Through Mattie’s message, peace becomes something that we can each consider and choose for ourselves, for our communities, and for our world. Mattie’s message of hope and peace encourages us to look within for purpose and peace, which becomes a root of sharing our purpose and creating peace in the world.

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How does Mattie’s Foundation support peace education? 

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The mission of the Mattie J.T. Stepanek Foundation is to continue spreading Mattie’s message of hope and peace by providing access to the message, promoting understanding of the message, and motivating people to action in sharing the message. Mattie’s Foundation develops and disseminates educational and recreational programs, activities, and resources that support an understanding of peace for individuals and for our world, and that encourage peacemaking as a deliberate choice.

Pathways to Peace is the name of our collective programs, activities, and resources that offer information, inspiration, recreation, and education related to peace. All components of our Pathways to Peace Program are rooted in Mattie’s message as he expressed it in poetry, essays, letters, speeches, art, and conversations. We select and suggest particular quotes, poetry, and book excerpts to support people of diverse ages in understanding and choosing peace. And, we offer tips and tools to begin conversations about peace, and to begin moving from “attitude to action” with peace, so that peace transitions from a possibility to reality.

Through our Pathways to Peace Program, exploration and understanding of key elements of Mattie’s message is facilitated. Examples of these elements include resilience, kindness, personal mottos, education, service, gratitude, and communication (and more!). Our peace education activities and programs build on Mattie’s “Three Choices for Peace” – and guide participants through the steps that include reflecting on, responding to, and reaching out with peace.

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What programs and resources does
—-Mattie’s Foundation offer to support peace education? 

Mattie’s Foundation offers peace tips and tools for educating people of diverse ages, abilities, faiths, and nationalities all around the world. Many of the resources in our Pathways to Peace Program are available at no cost to participants. Some resources are available for a fee that covers materials or services, and that supports the work of Mattie’s Foundation. We rely on the generosity of people around the world who choose to support Mattie’s peace mission through program participation and through donations and in-kind gifts.

Many people begin a peace education journey by simply exploring Mattie’s website (www.MattieOnline.com), which is filled with quotes, poetry, photos, and videos by or about Mattie and his peace message. Some people then read (or re-read) one of Mattie’s books or his life story (Messenger), and register in our free peace network or join one of our peace clubs. As visitors become more familiar with our website and Mattie’s message, they utilize more and more of our online resources and information, and they get more involved with our programs and activities. They also often begin sharing peace and our mission with others through these activities.

Our programs and resources are developed both for individuals (youth and adults) and for groups (families, clubs, schools, and communities of all sizes). Some activities can be completed by just following suggestions posted on our website. For those who choose our Peace Certification Program, we provide a supported journey through Mattie’s “Three Choices for Peace” and participants receive our 24-page Peace Tips Guide. This Guide provides detailed information on key elements of Mattie’s message, as well as guidance on adapting or creating an activity or plan that earns Peace Certification by Mattie’s Foundation.

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Click on the links below to explore components
of our Pathways to Peace Program

that support learning and teaching peace.
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 Programs & Activities
——–available at no charge (donations welcome) 

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Peace Activity Certificates — two ways to earn them

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Peace Club Kids, Tweens & Teens — for ages birth through 18 years

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  • Free program with levels and activities for youth of all ages
  • Receive Mama Peace Messages 6-8 times a year
  • Conversation tips for beginning peace discussions with youth
  • Suggested activities for youth to explore peace and Mattie’s message/poetry
  • Supported/recognized activities for youth ready to “reach out” with peace
  • Guided/virtual journey for teens ready for Mattie’s Three Choices for Peace
  • Peace Club youth pages for members’  artwork, poetry, photos, and peace posts
  • Certificates for membership and for youth peace activities
  • Visit our PCK main page here… 
  • Our Peace Club information page here…
  • Register for free in our Peace Shop here…

Mattie’s Peace Network – for ages 18 and up

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Annual/Seasonal Outreach Activities
— for all ages (individuals & groups)
Free, fun, quick, activities for global neighbors of all ages…
We offer peace tips for discussion/education with each activity…
- Earn a Peace Activity Certificate for family/class/group participation.
—-(Links to our three Seasonal Outreach categories below…)

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 Programs & Activities
——-available for a fee (covers materials/services)

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Peace Certification – basic and supported/mentored options

  • Guided journey through Mattie’s “Three Choices for Peace”
  • Learn to “Reflect, Respond & Reach Out” with peace (attitudes, habits, plans)
  • For individuals & families (parents, educators, leaders, counselors, clergy, etc…)
  • For small communities (classrooms, book clubs, youth groups, work programs…)
  • For large communities (schools, retirement communities, neighborhoods, etc….)
  • Your personal or community peace journey celebrated on our website

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Mattie’s Peace Club — General or VIP (Very Involved Peacemaker)

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 Materials & Resources
——– available at no charge (donations welcome) 

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www.MattieOnline.com 

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Peace Activity Certificates

  • Please see information above in our “Free Programs & Activities” section.

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Teacher Tips & Lesson Plans
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from Mattie’s Foundation and from YOU 

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Peace Tips & Poetry Links
from Outreach Activities, e-Peace News, and more 

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e-Peace Updates

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Mama Peace Messages

  • Sent to Peace Club Youth members and their families 4-8 times a year
  • Seasonal and/or news-related developmentally-appropriate information
  • Conversation tips for beginning peace discussions with youth
  • Suggested activities for youth to explore peace and Mattie’s message/poetry
  • Visit our Mama Peace Message page here… 
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 Materials & Resources
——–available for a fee (cover costs & services)

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Peace Tips Guide

  • 24-page full color resource and tool for learning about Mattie’s peace message, and for teaching people of all ages about peace in a way that supports transition for “attitude to action” with  peace
  • Sections include Mattie’s Life & The Peace Journey, Heartsongs & Purpose, key elements of peace, and specific conversation and activity Peace Tips & Poetry Links for each element in the Guide
  • Peace elements explored include hope, education, communication, choice, basic needs, service, kindness, resilience, anti-bullying, coping, motivation, mottos, role models, mosaics, and more… 
  • A 4-page “spirituality” supplement is in development for people across faiths  
  • Each peace element explored includes references to relevant poetry and quotes by Mattie, and suggestions for conversation and activities that support Peace Certification participants (youth or adults) in reflecting on, responding to, and reaching out with that peace element
  • Available ONLY as a part of our Peace Certification program (learn more here…)
  • Read more about our Peace Tips Guide here… 

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Peace & Book Chats

  • Online video chats with Jeni Stepanek and/or Foundation Directors
  • Available for
    — Book Clubs & other groups
    — Peace Certification “Enhanced” Program
    — Classrooms, Schools, & Youth Groups
  • Sample topics include a specific book by Mattie or Jeni, Mattie’s life and legacy, Mattie’s concept of “Heartsongs” and purpose, Mattie’s message of hope and peace, Mattie’s Foundation & Pathways to Peace Program, Jeni’s peace work and/or parenting experiences, and more…
  • Available by request through our Peace Shop here… 

Our Books (all eight books are NY Times Bestsellers)

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Our Inspiration Cards (14 different peace elements)

  • Each card creatively explores one element of Mattie’s peace message
  • Each card contains a Mattie poem and/or quote, along with a photo of or artwork by Mattie
  • Cards enhance understanding of Mattie’s message and peace elements that are being learned or taught
  • Available as individual cards, in bulk orders, or as packaged sets
     – Compete set – all 14 cards
    – Heartsongs & Hope
    set – 7 cards
     – Purpose & Peace set – 7 cards
  • Order your inspiration cards in our Peace Shop here… 

Posters & Bookmarks

Peace Materials - that make learning fun!


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Please support Mattie’s Foundation and
his mission of peace — for our world. 
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April Spotlight

Peace Seeker

Our Peace Seeker Spotlights honor our Peace Club Youth members -- and the families, educators, and mentors who choose to support these Kids, Tweens, and Teens in learning and celebrating that “peace is possible.” Read more...

Peace Maker

Our Peace Maker Spotlights honor our Peace Club General & VIP members – adults who "choose peace" and offer a small membership fee that supports our activities and programs, including the free activities offered to our youth members. Read more...

Peace Bringer

Our Peace Bringer Spotlights honor our Peace Activity Certificate and Peace Certification Program participants – individuals, families, educators, schools, communities, and more who choose to move from “attitude to action” with peace. Read more...

Peace Sponsor

Our Peace Sponsor Spotlights honor our Champions, Advocates, and Program Messengers – individuals, organizations, and businesses whose financial or in-kind contributions support the mission and work of Mattie’s Foundation. Read more...

- Mattie J.T. Stepanek