resolving conflict

Reinforcing the need for peaceful dialogue when resolving conflict.

“Educators in any school have a great responsibility. Especially if we take the view that the mind of the developing child is like a pure white cloth – it very vividly reflects the colours that you place upon it. Therefore as educators of children we must be very careful about which colours we choose to place on the cloth.

The experiences of the child imprint very strongly upon the mind. And we must also remember that the children of today are potentially the parents of tomorrow and so there is the potential for the continuum of their experiences.

If we do not teach loving kindness and universal responsibility, it becomes very difficult to expect that world peace can be an attainable goal. Without loving kindness and universal responsibility we cannot resolve conflicts.

Here we must think about what does world peace mean? World peace does not mean the absence of conflict. It is in the nature of this reality of living that conflict happens, and conflict must be expected.

World peace is therefore not about the attainment of absence of conflict but is a state that arises from the manner in which we resolve our conflicts. It is through mutual respect, appreciation for differences and by compromise that we resolve our conflicts.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama constantly reinforces this need for peaceful dialogue when resolving conflicts – the need to take a middle way approach when resolving disputes. This method is something that this school will teach to its children.

If we can teach these skills to children from an early age, when the mind is flexible and open to such an approach, then how will this blossom as adults? It is also possible that when children are taught these methods at school that they may be the teachers for peaceful dialogue within their own families and communities.

We need to establish the natural habit of conflict resolution from the classroom to the playground. We want to support children as peace-makers not just passive watchers of conflict. In the playground there should be a sense of respectful discussion and solution making when problems arise between the children. There should be a culture of knowing that we all cooperate to overcome conflict and find the way forward, supporting each other.

This should follow through into games playing as well. We need to instil the philosophy to understand that in competition we all have the right to win. An important feature is to play with respect and appreciation for our opponent: to play the game in the right spirit.

We need to practice good losing, rather than Olympian losing (because only gold is valued). The focus will be the joy and value of playing and competing. This is an expansive view of sport - it is great to win and to lose is no great drama, we had fun.”

~ Geshe Konchok Tsering, School Founder

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