On Saturday, January 28, 2017, I was sitting at Gate H1 of Chicago’s O’Hare Airport. The weather was cold outside, but not the bitter, nasty cold for which Chicago is famous. It was crowded inside, but not the people-invading-my-personal-space kind of crowded that my makes my lungs collapse and my heart rate climb.
I had enjoyed a good trip – good training from good instructors – but I’ll get to that shortly. First I have to say this: There is, in my opinion, no “best deep dish pizza.” I thought I would go and find IT. But no. Gino’s East has the best sauce, but even the waiter took the time to explain in his Chicago accent, “See you’re smat – you don’t eat the crust – if you eat the crust you got no room to finish the pie. Eat the good stuff and just use the crust to get it done.”
Lou Malnati’s – best crust but the flavor of the pie doesn’t measure up to Gino’s with their sauce.
Giordano’s – oh my goodness. Best in general, but Gino’s sauce is still better, and Malnati’s crust is still better.
Lady Gregory’s had a magnificent chicken pot pie and my favorite atmosphere, and it was certainly a privilege to sit in Al Capone’s booth at the Green Mill and enjoy some jazz.
All of that was why I picked Chicago over Memphis for training, but the training is why I was traveling. I was receiving more training in mediation. I have undergone many hours of training in mediation and reconciliation over the years, and here is what it always leaves me wondering:
Why aren’t we teaching our children this?
In schools we tell them not to bully and we tell them not to be a victim to bullying. We teach them to win in sports and martial arts and even academic competitions. In churches we teach them to celebrate and worship God.
But when and where and who is teaching PEACE?
Listening; Reasoning; Negotiating, Contemplating.
I haven’t seen many, if any church classes on reconciliation and peacemaking.
I haven’t seen elementary, middle or high school classes on how to reach compromises in disputes.
The founding fathers tried negotiating with enemies until there was no compromise to be had, and then recognized a common enemy and began negotiating among themselves on this side of the ocean in order to form a more perfect union. But they had to negotiate: give, receive and compromise. They didn’t fight among themselves to split into separate governments – they negotiated because someone had taught them to do so.
But kids today see adults throwing blame, shooting guns, hurling accusations and turning backs. They play video games and watch tv shows depicting the same.
They are taught to stand up for themselves and make their voice heard, but not to sit and listen respectfully. As a result, free speech deteriorates because no one values listening.
They are taught to make money and find wealth and security but not how to make or find peace within or without.
I see these lessons lacking in secular and parochial schools alike. Churches as well as social clubs fail.
I wonder if the fact that our society teaches its young the valuable arts of weaponry and winning rather than the invaluable arts of negotiation and reconciliation has anything to do with recent events and tragedies.
I wonder if we balanced lessons on assertive free speech with how to find peace and contentment, we would avoid some future problems.
Perhaps if we could slow down on the constant assertion of our own inalienable rights, we wouldn’t have to pursue the happiness that goes with life and liberty, quite so desperately.
Silly talk. I know.