Be the Peace

Busy Busy Busy 

It seems life a few decades ago was slower. I am not sure if that is true or not, but it is a perception many of us have. Most of us are working for the weekend.” We rush about trying to get to work on time, run  errands,  attend school and family activities and by the time the weekend rolls around, we want to tune out and relax!

Peaceful Week Days

You can have a peaceful week/work day!  First of all, start the day right.  Do not lay in bed too long filling your brain with dread to get up.  Think happy thoughts, journal, pray or meditate to set a positive tone before starting your  work day.

Set aside 30 minutes (more if you can swing it) just for you! Meditation. prayer, yoga, working out, bubble baths, reading or watching a vintage television show are all relaxing activities.  Make these things a priority!

Barraged With News

Gone are the days of a leisurely cup of coffee over the local newspaper to find out what is happening in the world.  Our phones ping with news, social media blasts news, our email inbox fills up with news, we have talk radio in our cars and if there is time to watch television, we have “breaking news.”

breaking-news-broadcast-graphics-consists-footage-011806658_prevstill

We hear “fake news,” political news, opposing viewpoints, celebrity gossip, accusations, justifications and not enough “feel good stories.”  It is no wonder some of us get a bleak view of the world today!

Think

Now, think of this: people outside of the USA are also barraged with news. As we hear unflattering news about other countries, it makes sense they also hear bad things about the USA.  We know despite all the tragedy, most people in the USA are good,  we enjoy many freedoms and have more prosperity and privilege than most. The difference is a few decades ago, we had less news sources and therefore life seemed “safer.”

Blended-Step-Family

Think again

Could it be that things are not as bad in other countries as we hear through the media?  That may or may not be so.  One way to get an unbiased perspective would be to travel the world. Although that sounds wonderful, it is not always feasible.

War and Peace

Without delving into history or politics, common sense should dictate that the more we understand someone, the less likely we are to harbor mistrust or dislike. Although the preceding statement references people, it is people that make up countries! Thankfully,  there are diplomats throughout the world working to keep our world peaceful. Unfortunately, those efforts are not always rewarded.

What We Can Do to Promote Peace

There are many things we can do to promote a peaceful world.  As Gandhi said: “be the change you want to see in the world.”  We can be less quick to judge, take time to know our immigrant community, walk away from conflict and “count to 10” before responding to negativity. This can promote a ripple effect.

We can cut back on social media, turn off the television, do our own research when we hear something sensational or “tune out” the bad.

Another way to promote world peace is through cultural exchange.  Cultural exchange is when families host students from other countries  for part or all of a school year. When the students go back home after their foreign country experience, the ripple effect spreads  when they talk of their favorable experiences in the country that hosted them.  Over 300 world leaders have been exchange students!  Wouldn’t it be exciting to find out your former exchange student is now a president?

exchange students at museum

Following are testimonials from former host families:

J. Anzek Orr We have hosted 11 students in the past 20 years, I see the difference between the students from back than and the students now with social media. We are very proud of our “Bonus Kids” and how they have grown, went to Universities, amazing jobs and having families of their own now. Sometimes you don’t see it right away what difference you make, but one of my Thai students from a couple of years ago was very shy and was not social here in the States. A year later he told me that he was out with his family and he heard some Americans’ sightseeing and they were lost, he went up to them and talked to them in English and helped them find where they wanted to go. To me that made us proud of him and that we made a difference and gave him the courage to walk up and speak English in his own country. ❤️

B.  Iszler We’ve hosted daughters from Thailand, France and Sweden next year. We’ve learned so much about other cultures in the journey. I highly recommend hosting an exchange student to anyone who is willing to open their heart and their home to a very well mannered student.

T. L.  Hughes Absolutely the best learning and cultural experience a family can share!

T.  Fredricks We have hosted from Spain, Brazil, Sweden, Germany, Taiwan and in fall Italy. Our experience is hard to describe hosting as anything less than amazing. It has grown our family and encourages us to dare to be that “different” family! My children have learned so much about living with different cultures and customs. With each new student my husband and I always wonder if our heart is big enough for the task of hosting. However, each time we are left so proud of our international son or daughter of everything that was accomplished and our hearts are so full  and they leave as a member of our family…

S. Welch Great experience!! We hosted a boy from Spain. Even though we are miles apart, we are always close in the heart.

The Time is Now!

We all have the tools inside of us to help create a more peaceful world.  The tools are simply changing some habits, saving money for travel or participating in cultural exchange.

Learn More

To learn more about hosting an exchange student from  another country, or to consider the possibility of sending your high school aged student abroad, visit:  cetusa.org.

 

 

Advertisements

Honoring Fred Rogers

Won’t You Be My Neighbor?Mister Rogers In Studio

That simple sentence of “Won’t you be my neighbor?” conjures up the simple song whenever we hear it.  Some of us may be too young or old to have watched “Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood” as children, but  those of us in the USA know of him.  Currently, the documentary based upon his life is showing in multiple theaters to rave reviews. Many people have told me it brought tears to their eyes.  I know I did not see a dry eye in the house as I left the theater. No explanation for the tears will be given here, as  everyone should experience a movie without a spoiler.

What could have Mr. Rogers meant by “neighbor?”

Dictionary definitions all concur that a neighbor is someone who lives close by. With this vast universe, how could we all live by Mr. Rogers?  The Bible says to “love thy neighbor as thyself.”  Thus, it is safe to assume Mr. Rogers was implying love towards all as we love ourselves.  That’s a heavy concept! For the purpose of analogy, my writing is geared toward those with self love.

Mr. Roger’s Legacy

We already know Fred Rogers promoted tolerance, self esteem and kindness as his legacy. What I did not catch before was that many of his shows were tied in to current events.  Without delving directly into those shows, I think of today’s current climate.  We are technology driven, which is a great thing, but turns ugly when misused. There are the “keyboard warriors” that feel free to say hurtful things they would not voice in person, political sniping,  news media showing the worst of others, people staring at their phones in lieu of conversation, and more.

fb_img_15162905925891115604814.jpg

 

Then, there is the wonderful side of technology:  more access to education, formation of friendships,  calls for help being answered, knowledge of the plight of others, promotion of small business…the list goes on.  Mr. Rogers used the technology of television to promote what is good in the world.  What a trailblazer!

 

How can we continue the legacy of Fred Rogers?

Fred Rogers did not have just a “children’s show.”  His shows send us all a message of tolerance, helpfulness, and world peace. This begins with his message of self esteem. Once we have good self esteem, we are able to help others in many ways.  Most of us do help others day to day by offering empathy, smiles and service. That caring touches lives and sends a ripple of goodwill throughout our communities.

fb_img_1519143091105375760083.jpg

How may we send that ripple across the ocean?  Think of how peaceful the world could be if we simply understood each other!  There are many ways to gain understanding and peace:  mission trips, cultural exchange, podcasts, You Tube, books, initiating conversation with those we perceive to be “different,” visiting cultural fairs, etc.

fb_img_151629024723611275142.jpg

Living the Legacy

I challenge myself and each and every one of us to live the legacy of Fred Rogers! Many mission trips are funded by donations through churches or incentives, such as Evolv Health’s Impact trips. You could host a foreign exchange student through CETUSA, whose mission is  reaching out to encourage a lifelong journey of global peace and understanding.”  Here is an educational podcast from a woman living a multicultural life: Petronella..  Ted Talks are informative, inspiring videos on many topics.  Here are the 5 top Ted Talks on Diversity/mulitculturalism:  Ted Talks. Plus, there are a slew of books on Amazon or your local library on a multitude of cultures.

 

By understanding those that appear to be “different” from us, we learn of our similarities, gain new friendships, and in the case of foreign exchange, a new family member.  It starts with the person in the mirror.  As Gandhi said ” be the change you want to see in the world.”

35895335_10156541117182002_2334216379214856192_n

for more information on student exchange, please visit http://www.cetusa.org or send me a message at:  julie.froberg@cetusa.org