Last week was Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and on Monday I spoke to 250 educators from the Lakeville School District about A Peace of My Mind and using storytelling to build understanding and community.
The exhibit was installed at the Lakeville high school media centers and many teachers brought their classes to engage in different ways. An art teacher had her class sketch the portraits that they were drawn to, paying attention to light, composition, and texture. She asked them this parting question…”If your portrait was in the library, what would the bio say about you? How do you bring peace into the world?”
Here are some of the responses:
If my portrait was in the library it would say that I made peace through my art and that brings people together.
I like to be kind to others to make them feel happy. I want my career to help others even if I don’t know what that is yet.
I want to change the world.
Well, I don’t know how I bring peace into the world. I try to be the best that I can be and try to be nice to everyone.
Someone once told me when they are around me they can see things from a better point of view. They told me they love that I’m always happy.
I add peace to the world by hanging out with disabled people in my spare time, and taking care of my brother who has autism.
I spread peace by spreading the love of Jesus.
I find hope in the most unpeaceful situations and love unconditionally.
Worrying less, accepting more.
If my photograph would have been in the library, I would be known for making peace by housing many homeless animals and successful rescue missions to save animals. Plus the biggest cat sanctuary in the world.
I welcome people.
I love to write, and if something I wrote brings a smile to just one person that would be an achievement all on its own.
I don’t litter or pollute the earth with garbage. I am a lover, I care about everyone’s well being.
I would spread happiness and let people know that there is more out there to discover. Life is an adventure.
I accept people before I judge them. I believe everyone deserves to be treated with kindness.
On the last day of the exhibit I showed up a little early to take things down. There was one class still scheduled to visit, so I waited and I watched. It was an English class and the students were about to start reading To Kill a Mockingbird.
The teacher focused on a quote by Atticus Finch:
“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view…until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”
That’s what he challenged his students to do with the exhibit…with the stories…see things from another point of view. I have a short exhibit guide that asks people to do the same thing…find someone you’d like to meet…find someone you don’t think you’d have anything in common with…read their story…find the common ground.
In the words of Catherine Mamer, “It’s that simple…and that hard.”
How are you trying to understand others? What issues of the day challenge you? Is there more you can do to consider things from another point of view?