5 05, 2021

The Universal Mother

2021-09-23T14:03:48-04:00May 5th, 2021|Tags: |

Quick!  How many names for mother can you name off the top of your head?  Here are a few: Iya, Yoruba language Madre, Italian Mama, Spanish Amai, Shona Mae, Portuguese Tina, Samoan Mathair, Irish No matter what culture – Mothers are traditionally loved, honored, revered, respected, cherished, cared for, and protected.  Mothers are life-givers who do not hesitate to do what is necessary for the betterment, and upliftment of their children, grandchildren, as well as great-grandchildren. No task is too hard and no mountain is too high for her to climb when it comes to her, as my Grandmother called us, her “get.” The Yoruba People of Nigeria say no prayers are more potent and powerful than the prayers of a Mother for her child.  Here is a story on how the tears of Mothers can bring forth hope and strength when there seems to only be despair: The Legend of the Cherokee Rose In the latter half of 1838, Cherokee People who had not voluntarily moved west earlier were forced to leave their homes in the East. The trail to the West was long and treacherous and many were dying along the way. The People's hearts were heavy with sadness and their tears mingled with the dust of the trail. The Elders knew that the survival of the children depended upon the strength of the women. One evening around the campfire, the Elders called upon Heaven Dweller, ga

20 03, 2019

Remembering the Village

2021-05-20T17:41:29-04:00March 20th, 2019|Tags: , , |

by Naeemah Jackson, Family Programs Director Stereotypes are misleading. Stereotypes are harmful. Stereotypes are incredibly counter-productive, and they can be anathema to the truth of a person, and/or a group of people. Even city zip codes can reinforce negative stereotyping of the people who live within these boundaries. High property taxpayers vs. renters. Let us together demolish a pernicious stereotype. As an example, I am referencing Blackburn Terrace Apartment Complex which is located within the 46218 zip code in Indianapolis, IN; a zip code which is considered to be a "hot spot." Blackburn has its share of crime - which of course never fails to make it to the local evening news. After all, "if it bleeds, it leads." However, the level of scrutiny many neighborhoods and their residents receive - and the level of outrage and condemnation which the community at large can heap upon them is too often out of proportion; and, too often ignored are the constructive and positive activities and initiatives that are a daily occurrence. There is more good than bad. An example of a meritorious effort being carried out at the Blackburn Terrace Complex, among other proactive work being done by the staff, is the introduction of Peace Learning Center's Connect and Communicate (CC) Program. These multi-generational workshops have proven to be efficacious in the past at working with families to make what is good and righteous in the family, even better. We

14 08, 2017

Real Talk: Striving for Peace Within

2021-05-20T17:41:43-04:00August 14th, 2017|Tags: , , |

by Naeemah Jackson, Family Programs Director On 6 July 2017, my beloved Grandson, Dyani K. Saunders-Gammon was murdered.  He had been on this earth for 22 years, 4 months and 6 days.   With that, how do I, the Director of Family Programming at Peace Learning Center – a seasoned Peace Educator and fierce advocate of such – how do I reconcile the anger and deep sorrow in my heart?  How do I look at my work in the same optimistic way?  Do I allow my rage and grief to drag me into the waters of revenge and hate?  Or, do I seize this moment to lay bare my pain to myself; and search for inner paths that lead to what largesse I can muster for his killer? Is my Truth wide enough – deep enough –high enough to wrap arms around the person who perpetrated this heinous deed?  To forgive them?  To even begin to try and understand their life; their motivations; their reality? Will the lessons I teach to families fall upon my ears and hearts in the manner I hope it falls upon theirs?  Bottom line, will I practice what I preach? Will the lessons I teach to families fall upon my ears and hearts in the manner I hope it falls upon theirs?  Bottom line, will I practice what I preach? Right now, at this very moment, as I write these words, I

22 10, 2015

Family “Rules”

2017-05-25T16:13:42-04:00October 22nd, 2015|Tags: , |

Family "Rules" We Live By Our house has a revolving door.  Our friends, neighbors and kids friends are always stopping by and sometimes stay for a day or two or....more.  I often wonder why these individuals like to "hang out" at our house.  My ego says "WOW! We must be great parents and friends!" So I went on a quest and asked why our home is their "landing hub" and here's the answers I received: Your house is so calm and peaceful. There's no judgments made here. I feel like part of your family. It keeps me out of my parent's "messes" and makes me feel calm. I love that you always do things together and I feel included. This made me realize that the rules we try to live by in our home are working - although, admittedly, we aren't always successful at following them ourselves. We're not perfect, but we try and that has to count for something, right? So, here are some of the family rules we live by, not in any specific order, that I'd like to share with you. We don't have all the answers, I just know these work for us in our home. GIVE: It doesn't have to me money or material things. Give your time and share your talents. WHISTLE WHILE YOU WORK: We all have tasks that need to be done on a regular basis, so no point complaining about them.

17 07, 2015

Family Bonding Time

2021-05-20T17:42:12-04:00July 17th, 2015|Tags: , |

Children learn how to behave by watching their parents interact with each other and in society. Family bonding time is an excellent way to model behaviors for your children and teaches them how to communicate with family members, friends and society. In my house, our family bonding time is Sunday dinner followed with a game.  During dinner we go "round robin" style asking questions and talking about each one. "I don't know" is not an option when we ask questions like: What was the best thing that happened this week and why? What was the worst thing that happened this week and why? What is something new you've learned this week? What did you do to help another person this week? This really opens up communication for us, allowing us to praise the good things, learn new things and actually "hear" what's going on in the lives of our family as well as reinforcing the importance of helping others.  We try to keep it light so no one feels frustrated, angry, or closes up and doesn't share.  As parents, we get to impart life experiences and wisdom by asking guiding questions to help our children make better choices and think about the decisions they make.  Without even realizing it, our parental frustration and worry level goes down because our children open up and communicate with us.  We are bonding, we are learning what's happening in each others lives, and we're displaying behaviors that can be used in children's lives. Once

16 07, 2015

Family is everything – 6 Tips for Deeper Listening

2021-05-20T17:42:12-04:00July 16th, 2015|Tags: , , , |

Family is Everything - 6 Tips for Listening Deeply  A Family is like a forest, when you are outside it is dense, but when you are inside, you see that each tree has its place.  - Yoruba People  Today, right now, all families face challenges that can and do put terrific strains on establishing and maintaining harmony and peace. These circumstances press into, and lean on, and sometimes snap that family tie.  Challenges range from food insecurity, arguments, disrespect, sibling rivalry, inappropriate associates, joblessness, homelessness, and even violence.  One of the biggest reasons for conflict in families is miscommunication. Peace Learning Center's Connect and Communicate family program works with families to improve what is good in their communication.  A multitude of topics are covered such as: Understanding the 12 Blocks to Listening; Effective Listening; Listening with Empathy, Openness and Awareness; Conflict Resolution; and Peaceful Living. We all want to be heard, so here are six tips on letting someone know you are hearing them: Maintain good eye contact. Lean slightly forward. Reinforce the speaker by nodding or paraphrasing. Clarify by asking questions. Actively move away from distractions. Be committed, even if you're angry or upset, to understanding what is being said. Last Saturday, at one of our Family Workshops in Eagle Creek Park, participants (ranging in age from 7 to 72) were asked, "When you hear the word family, what word comes to your mind?"   Here are some of their responses: brothers-sisters, support, love, caring, family dinners, survival, strength,

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