“Come to the peace table…. or else.”

December 18, 2013

Notable Stats

Peace by Stalking Time (PST) – The amount of time it takes for a child to stalk another child into a peaceful accord. This is usually by force.

Peace Table Trips per Day (PTTD) – The amount of times your child is either taking someone to or being taken to the peace table.

Peace is a funny word. A word that was a lot easier to define before we had kids. It always made sense when you think of a relationship between two nations or the quiet you find while sitting at the top of a mountain or in front of a still lake.

But then children come along and make you re-define it.
To our son’s credit, he wants peace. He wants to resolve matters without using his hands. So he has co-opted a Montessori school concept called the “peace table.”

Apparently, when there is a dispute between students, you have the option of taking the other student to the peace table. There you can work it out. When you get there, you can do nothing, but you have to go when prompted. Both parties are free to express what they need to express.

Fair enough. But I am wondering. Is it peace, if someone is taking you to the peace table every 15 minutes? Somehow, I doubt it.

Our son has brought the concept home. Drawing up the “peace wall” in the kitchen. When his sister ignores him, or pushes his buttons, he demands a visit to the peace wall. She refuses to go which in turn makes him lose his peace. He then decides to follow her around the house yelling “You have to go to th peace wall! It is the rule!” This goes on to perpetuity until we actually have to break-off his peace talks.

In school, you have to go; at home, well, not so much since how it plays out at home is very different than how it plays out at the U.N. There also needs to be a distinction that if two nations are seeking peace: A) They both must want peace; B) You cannot make the other nation work on a peace accord with you by military force or intimidation – seems counter to the concept; and, C) It is not grounds for a peace wall visit when the other nation refuses to give you a back massage or play your made-up game that you always win.

I imagine the nuances of peace are hard to understand. Certainly the world is still far away from figuring it out so, in fairness to five year olds, I am just glad they are trying.

But I thought it valuable to create a peace wall rulebook. So here we go.

  1. You cannot invite someone to the peace wall and then punch him or her in the face.
  2. If you get someone to the peace wall, you are not able to yell at him or her and use gestures that imply impending doom or despair while following them around the house like a stalker (like brandishing a gun or acting like you are slitting a body part).
  3. You cannot drag someone by the hair to the peace wall.
  4. You can only go to the peace wall once a day, more than that then we must rename the peace wall to “harassment wall.”
  5. It is not grounds to go to the peace wall when someone refuses to lick your shoes.
  6. It is not grounds to go to the peace wall when someone walks away from playing a game with you that you have called “I Win Always.”

Peace is great to aspire to have in one’s life, no doubt. I am happy to see our kids’ school teaching how to resolve conflict and dispute, how to express one’s emotions and feelings in times of disagreement. Kudos. Of course, it is interesting to watch our kids try and figure out how to use it most effectively and, in that process, watch peace often get turned onto its head. I assume when the effort of getting peace creates more problems and noise, maybe then we should shoot for another goal until both sides are really ready, a goal like silence. Shhhhh.

- Doug Glanville

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