By teaching our students to think, care, and act, we empower them to build a peaceful future.

Welcome to Think, Care, Act, where teachers and students can find rationales and resources to infuse required curricula with peace, character, global, and multicultural concepts throughout the year.

To act in a world whose problems seem overwhelming requires being able to use the powers of critical and creative thinking and compassionate and inclusive care. Employing these tools, adults and youth alike can work effectively and conscientiously to solve problems big and small, global and local.

Sunday, December 16, 2012


As we consider our responses to the events in Sandy Hook, Connecticut, we recognize that different age groups will need different approaches.  Teachers of youngest children will appreciate the advice in the first article.  Teachers of middle school to high school and college students may want to use information from the second and third articles for class discussions and action projects.  All of us might find comfort in part four and the mother's prayer of Mairead Corrigan Maguire.

1. How to (and if to) talk to kids:

We are overwhelmed with sadness over the school shootings in Connecticut, yet those of us who teach will be in our classrooms tomorrow.  As we wonder about our day with our students tomorrow, we may find help in this New York Times blog by KJ Dell-Antonia, How Not to Talk With Children About the Sandy Hook Shooting.

 I especially resonate with the author's discussion of the phrase: "worried thought, brave thought...." The article in its entirety is worth reading.

“We teach kids to counter a worried thought with a brave thought,” she said, and to “know that although the worried thought may come back, the brave thoughts are always there as well.” A worried thought might be “A shooter will come to my children’s school and there is nothing I can do about it,” with the brave counter “School shootings are still rare, and countless people are working to make them rarer still....”
--(Nancy Rappaport, associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and director of school-based programs for the Cambridge Health Alliance.) 

2. Gun violence:

Many of us are struggling with what actions to take in the wake of this tragedies (and others caused by gun violence).  Nicholas Kristof's column gives us some background on the frustrating delays and non-achievements in the realm of regulating gun purchases.  In Do We Have the Courage to Stop This?  he reminds us that the US has the highest rate of child-homicide-by-gun violence of any developed country. 

"The tragedy isn’t one school shooting, it’s the unceasing toll across our country. More Americans die in gun homicides and suicides in six months than have died in the last 25 years in every terrorist attack and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq combined.

"So what can we do? A starting point would be to limit gun purchases to one a month, to curb gun traffickers. Likewise, we should restrict the sale of high-capacity magazines so that a shooter can’t kill as many people without reloading...." 

3. Mental illness: 

The Huffington Post ran Lisa Long's painful piece on living with a child with mental illness: 'I Am Adam Lanza's Mother': A Mom's Perspective On The Mental Illness Conversation In America.  

Recounting the horrific details of managing her own son's mental illness, Long concludes: "It’s time for a meaningful, nation-wide conversation about mental health. That’s the only way our nation can ever truly heal."

4. Peace People: 

It may seem a stretch to invoke Nobel Peace Prize laureate Mairead Corrigan Maguire's work and words at this juncture, but her actions (with fellow laureate Betty Williams and journalist Ciaran McKeown) to respond to violence in Northern Ireland in 1976, are instructive.  Read about the formation and history of the Peace People and the decline in violence they accomplished through the united community action of ordinary citizens.  

"Over the next couple of days, chapels were packed for prayers, groups of people prayed spontaneously at the death site, and local women went from door to door with a petition for a end to the violence....  The People of Northern Ireland showed their great desire for peace, when thousands marched throughout Northern Ireland - and in the South. Within the first 6 months there was a 70 percent drop in the rate of violence, and things would never return to the terrible rate of death and destruction experienced in 1976 when it looked like the community was spiralling into all out civil conflict....."  

Also on the Peace People's webpage, in the HISTORY section, at the bottom left, click on the link to hear Maguire read aloud a portion of her "Letter to my son Luke," in which these phrases might comfort us, adult and child alike: 

"And now, my little son, let me say the most important thing of all to you. Be happy, be joyous, live every minute of this beautiful gift of life. When suffering comes into your life, and sadly I cannot, much as I would love to, protect you from suffering, and when you come through the winter of your life, remember that summer will return, the sun will shine again, and the road will be covered in beautiful, oh so very beautiful, yellow roses of love."