Learning Your Conflict Style


Pretty smile!

Has anyone ever told you, “When I first met you, I thought you were a real jerk!”?

Most people don’t “click” right away. It often take months, or even years, before we are able to understand another person’s personality and conflict style. This lack of understanding results in people butting heads – which is especially problematic when they are on the same team!

Through our PLC Community Programs, we accelerate this learning process from months/years to only a couple of hours by helping team members better understand their own personalities and conflict styles while also gaining insight into the personality and conflict styles of their team members. While we can’t guarantee everyone will like each other, at least they’ll know how to work with each other better to accomplish their team goals.

During our workshops we utilize a customized Conflict Style tool to assess and reveal each participant’s conflict style. The team then has the opportunity to share and discuss their findings.

While this activity is best done in a group, it is still beneficial to take some time to discover your own conflict style. Click here to take a short online quiz to learn more about how you resolve conflicts.

Interested in learning more about PLC can help your team become more effective by accelerating the understanding process?

Email John McShane, Community Programs Director, at jmcshane@peacelearningcenter.org or give him a call at 317-327-7144. You can also visit our website at peacelearningcenter.org/communityprograms to see sample workshop agendas and/or complete an online program inquiry form.

The Mindful Path – In the Community



Hello from guest blogger, Lisa Robinson! In this third quarter of the year, my posts on The Mindful Path will be about mindfulness in the community. There’s a great connection between the two, when the individual practice of mindfulness, which involves attention to the current moment without judgement, is also applied broadly to our neighborhoods, communities, and society.

How does this happen? One example is work performed by Peace Learning Center for Irvington Community High School to help their freshman students learn conflict resolution skills and resolve interpersonal issues. One component of this involved mindfulness exercises that helped the students better respond to stressful situations. Although this focused on school issues, the skills learned could transfer outside the educational environment, with the potential to positively impact all current and future relationships. To read more about this, click here: http://ow.ly/Pcpl0

Let’s go back to talking about us as individuals. Some people actively take advantage of ways they can be of service to others, and this can enhance the benefits of mindfulness in the community. But what if you aren’t easily able to do this? You may already be tapped out by juggling multiple jobs, by the commitment of being a care-giver for a family member with special needs, or by many other possible situations.

You might not easily see opportunities for how you as an individual can mindfully impact the community. However, consider all the roles you may have: employee, child, parent, partner, church member, neighbor, etc. In every interaction you have with others, you have a chance to make a difference through what you pay attention to, and the next action you mindfully choose to take.

I hope that this post sparks your thoughts and encourages you to approach your next interaction with mindfulness.

Anti-Stress Mandalas


Flower mandala

Mandalas for Reducing Stress

 We’re always searching for new self-calming tools to help the children and youth we serve clear their minds so they can focus on learning. We’ve discovered coloring mandalas is an easy and effective way for people of all ages to reduce their stress.

We’re always searching for new self-calming tools to help the children and youth we serve clear their minds so they can focus on learning. We’ve discovered coloring mandalas is an easy and effective way for people of all ages to reduce their stress.

Numerous mandala coloring books filled with beautiful images and intricate details are now available for children and adults. Free mandala coloring pages are also available online. To try out this peaceful activity, click here to read a Huffington Post article about a mandala coloring book and print a few of the gorgeous mandalas to color with (or without) your kids this summer!

Learn more about Peace Learning Center programs by visitingpeacelearningcenter.org/what-we-do/

40 Lessons and Activities on Animal Related Issues


Our newest addition to Peace Learning Center is “be the change” which includes 30 permanent, interactive exhibits designed to build empathy and compassion by showing people how small changes they make in their daily lives can make a big difference for our planet and in our world. The exhibits are free (with admission to Eagle Creek Park) and open to the public every M-F from 9 am – 4 pm.Resource-Guides

“be the change” was created in collaboration with our partners at HEART which has a mission to foster compassion and respect for all living beings and the environment by educating youth and teachers in Humane Education. HEART recently created a great resource guide that contains lessons for students in grades K – 12 (each lesson is aligned to the Common Core Standards) and activities that can be conducted both in school settings as well as more nontraditional out-of-school venues like community centers, libraries or camps.

It’s no secret that kids love animals. Click here to view the resource guide and start engaging their hearts and minds with these age appropriate lessons and activities that cover issues like companion animal homelessness, puppy mills, factory farming, habitat destruction, endangered species and so much more.

Then, click here to learn more about “be the change” including how you can donate to our campaign to help create a more humane world!

The Mindful Path – Best Practices for Schools


Hello from guest blogger, Lisa Robinson! In the final post this quarter on mindfulness and education, let’s talk about some best practices. In February this year, independent consultant Patrick Cook-Deegan provided two posts about this on the blog for Carney, Sandoe & Associates, an educational recruiting firm that works with schools and teachers.

In the first post, Cook-Deegan provides an overview of mindfulness in education and lists different strategies for bringing it into schools: http://ow.ly/OiSc8. The pros and cons identified for each of the strategies highlight the importance of first performing an effective needs analysis and making sure that there’s sufficient buy-in from all stakeholders to support a successful approach.

Building on the first post, the second one http://ow.ly/OiSer provides tips for implementation and comments about the future of mindfulness at independent schools. Although all the information is useful, the concept of legitimacy really resonated with me. It can be easy to dismiss implementing a mindfulness program as a “flavor of the month” that wastes time and other resources. Cook-Deegan suggested partnering with a local academic institution to use metrics to identify program effectiveness and impact.

Solid research from reputable sources such as this one from Harvard http://ow.ly/OiShP has helped to demonstrate the importance of mindfulness initiatives. So the big takeaway is to anticipate challenges and carefully engage in the troubleshooting required to effectively address each of them. The benefits of well-crafted mindfulness programs that meet the needs of children, teachers, and their schools are worth the time and effort required to make them succeed.

I hope that this quarter’s discussion of mindfulness in education has been helpful. Please leave your comments or questions below.

The Mindful Path – Mindful Schools



Hello from guest blogger, Lisa Robinson! In this last month of the quarter, we’ll finish up a quick exploration of the topic Mindfulness in Education.

An amazing source for wonderful resources on mindfulness in schools is http://www.mindfulschools.org/. If you want to find out more about how to bring mindfulness into your own life or to share it with children in our schools, this is a must-see web site.

The “Take a Course” tab features information about courses on Mindfulness Fundamentals and Curriculum Training. If you’re interested in taking these courses, financial assistance is available.

The “About Mindfulness” tab defines mindfulness, and also includes research, stories from classrooms, and mindfulness exercises.

The “Resources” tab includes a blog, a sample lesson, newsletter archives, and other helpful items. There are also a couple of videos posted at this tab that emphasize the importance of mindfulness for students in the classroom.

I hope you have a chance to view the Mindful Schools site and enjoy the great variety of resources provided. I know that I was inspired and want to explore participating in the two courses offered. If the site also resonates with you, please share your comments in the space below.

Here’s to a great, mindful June! I look forward to sharing more information with you in my next post.

The Mindful Path – Mindfulness Skills for Teens



In this post, we continue with this quarter’s theme of Mindfulness in Education. Recently, Harvard Business Review published an article on “Teaching Teenagers to Develop Their Emotional Intelligence,” which can be accessed through this link: http://ow.ly/Nou9a

The article, written by researchers at the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, makes the point that unless today’s teens learn emotional intelligence skills, they will not be equipped to be competitive in the future workforce they will soon join.

Recognizing these concerns, some business schools are implementing courses that incorporate components of emotional intelligence. Although this kind of education can be very helpful, is it happening too late, when college students are challenged to learn behaviors that support their future professional success?

Research has demonstrated that an approach for teaching Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) created at the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, assists children to learn mindfulness skills to effectively manage their emotions. This creates a foundation for success in school that can carry over into adult life. For more information about this work, click here: http://ei.yale.edu/ruler/. Click on the different areas of the site to access a variety of helpful resources.

Why aren’t there more SEL programs for children? The article emphasizes taking advantage of opportunities to support mandates to provide and fund these programs. Additional suggestions are also listed.

Consider the emotional intelligence skills of children and young adults in your life. What opportunities do they have to learn the mindful practices that can make such a difference? If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to leave a message below. The Peace Learning Center offers expertise and excellent learning experiences that can be a great solution.

Mind Bottles


Smind bottlesummer break presents a wonderful opportunity to teach your children, and even yourself, some new mindful practices! Research shows that practicing mindfulness helps people of all ages better cope with the stress of everyday life.

This is a very simple mindfulness activity you can do with your child or entire group of children. We often use this activity during our Peacebuilders Summer Camp program to help children discover how to find a peaceful place within themselves when dealing with conflicts.

Mind bottles are also very simple and fun to make!

How to make a Mind Bottle:

  1. Find a clear plastic bottle with a lid/bottle cap to use. You can even put to good use an old container that has been washed and had its label removed.
  2. Select about a tablespoon of glitter and place it inside the bottle (using a funnel if the opening is small).
  3. Fill the bottle with water, leaving about a half inch of space at the top so that the water can swish when shaken.
  4. Replace lid/bottle cap.

How to use a Mind Bottle:

  1. Shake up your bottle
  2. What emotion does it remind you of when all of the contents of the bottle are flying around and spinning?
  3. When we feel stress, anger, and frustration, our brains are not able to think clearly. We often are not able to make good, healthy choices when our brains are clouded by stress.
  4. Shake it up again and try to look through it. It is hard to have clear thinking when our brain is full of chaos.
  5. Now take a deep breath and watch the glitter settle to the bottom of the bottle. Notice that there are 2 kinds of glitter. When we are stressed, it is hard to tell the big (important) stuff from the little (unimportant) stuff!
  6. Find a comfortable place to sit or lay down. Concentrate on nothing but the glitter falling peacefully. When your bottle is totally clear, imagine what that feels like in your brain.
  7. Last, think of what you can do when your mind feels stressed. Talk about what helps you feel calm and find someone who will promise to help remind you to do those things next time you are frustrated. Some simple ways to calm down are: deep breaths, exercise, walking, listening to music, laughing, and making an effort to stop thinking about the problem and coming back to it when you feel calm.

Learn more about Peace Learning Center programs by visiting our website at peacelearningcenter.org/what-we-do/

The Mindful Path – National Teacher Day



Hello from guest blogger, Lisa Robinson! Today, May 5, is National Teacher Day, a part of National Teacher Appreciation Week. This is a great event to note as part of my focus in the blog this quarter is on mindfulness in education.

I write this post in honor of my stepfather, Fred Huston, who taught middle-school math and science. He passed away about 15 years ago and did not teach in a particularly mindful time or place. However, he taught me something about mindful awareness that I’ll never forget. Many times, he told me to pay attention and “read” other people to find out what they were thinking and feeling.

Although he didn’t know it, my stepfather did me a great service by encouraging me to think about mindfulness at a young age. I have carried this wisdom into my adult life, where by taking the time to practice social awareness (a core competency of Social and Emotional Learning), I frequently benefit.

I wanted to draw your attention to mindfulness educator Susan Kaiser Greenland’s site here: http://www.susankaisergreenland.com. At this site, you’ll find a wealth of helpful information including video clips. Ms. Greenland is the founder of the Inner Kids Program, which teaches mindfulness to children through awareness of the inner and outer experience. She is also author of the book, “The Mindful Child.” Here’s a link where you can find out more about the book: http://ow.ly/MyECF. If you are a parent or teacher who wants to share mindfulness with children, this book could be a very useful resource.

This week (and always!), take advantage of the opportunity to support teachers, who have one of the most important jobs ever. If they are using mindful practices as part of helping our children to learn and live up to their potential, the benefits can be even greater.

If you have any questions or comments, please type them in the box below. I look forward to seeing you again in my next post on The Mindful Path.

The Mindful Path – Students Learn Peace Through Mindfulness



Hello from guest blogger, Lisa Robinson! In this post, I want to tell you about an excellent resource for teachers who want to help themselves and their students learn to use mindful practices.

Here’s a link to the site “Mindful Teachers – Living, Learning, and Teaching with Mindful Awareness”: http://ow.ly/LSMiV. Mindful Teachers provides a blog, free resources and lesson plans, and many other resources. If you are a teacher or a parent interested in sharing mindfulness with students, you will find excellent information here.

Here you’ll find description of a Pebble Meditation that helps students cultivate internal peace so that they can share this approach with the world around them: http://ow.ly/LSMQq. The process uses four pebbles, mindful breathing, and visualization. See more details in the book “Teach, Breathe, Learn,” by Meena Srinivasan.

I hope that you enjoy the wide range of resources at the “Mindful Teachers” site.

Please leave any questions or comments you may have in the section below. I wish you the peace and satisfaction that can come from experiencing mindfulness.