Three Surprisingly Simple Ways to Teach Compassionate Problem Solving Skills

The decades-long case studies featured in Raising Peacemakers by Esther Sokolov Fine will inspire you to bring her strategies into your own home. This book is a quick read, but let me summarize it for you.

In the early nineties, Fine worked with an innovative group of teachers, parents, and students at a small elementary school in Toronto. They chose to view ordinary child-to-child conflicts as learning opportunities, so they began what the students called, “The Peacemakers Project.”

The book reveals the methods and impacts of this project through a series of interviews, some conducted with the children back in the nineties, others as recently as a few years ago. The effect of the Peacemakers Project was nuanced, but one thing was imminently clear: even children as young as kindergartners are capable of making peace among their friends and siblings. And these skills, when learned young, shape the way they interact with the world throughout their lives.

In this age of over-loud opinions and I’m-right-you’re-wrong discourse, compromise has become a despised concept, as well as a dirty word.

It’s easy for kids to get the wrong idea. That peacemaking is weak or cowardly. That the most courage belongs to the loudest voice and the reddest face. We must teach our children the quiet strength of compassion and the courage involved in solving problems peacefully. Read more...