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.”
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!
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.”
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?
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.
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.