This is a time of year when we often hear the word “peace.” Some think of peace as a symbol of the holiday season. For many of us, peace is a word used to express our hope for the future. Peace is an idea with multiple meanings. Yet, across our nation and around the world, it is the hope driving much of what we search for in life.
For those who are experiencing conflict, even war, peace might symbolize a world without violence and a commitment to settle differences and build understanding without resorting to destructive conflict. Peace might represent a nation that has rediscovered what binds us together and the important interests we share. Peace also can be found in a family without constant conflict, where relationships are stronger than self-interests and winning. Peace might represent life balance in which physical, emotional, and spiritual elements are in harmony. Peace might also come through the realization that we are nurturing important skills and a love of learning among our students that will open the doors to a successful and satisfying future.
Of course, peace in any of these contexts is not easy to achieve, but it is more than worth the effort. At times, finding peace means making a greater commitment and searching more intensely. At other times, finding peace means letting go and accepting life as we experience it.
Others rarely can tell us what we must do and what choices we should make. The answer to where and how to find peace lies within each of us. We must look inward to discover what we need.
We can start by reflecting on what we value and what really matters to us. If we are to commit and persist to find peace, we need to know what we are searching for and why it is worth the pursuit. This step may sound as though it should be easy, but life has a way of interrupting and distracting us from discovering this important truth. Quiet reflection, self-honesty, and inward exploration can be useful strategies to help us.
We can also think about who we value and what they mean to us. In the heat of conflict, we can forget that to achieve our most important goals we usually need others to guide, support, and even challenge us. Who are those people in your life? Do they know how much you value them? Peace is especially fulfilling when it is shared.
As we think about the world beyond us we may despair, thinking that we are only one person. How can we hope to bring peace? What difference can we make? The truth is that real, lasting peace will be built by people like us who care enough to try, are committed enough to work toward it, and humble enough to share the work and credit with others. Big dreams are not necessarily more costly than small ones, but they can make a much greater difference.
In this holiday season, may you find peace. Cherish it, share it, and build on it.