Teaching Peace

Peace matters, and peace can be taught to children and adults in simple, creative, and purposeful ways.

Mattie’s Foundation offers many Peace Tips & Peace Tools to support individuals & groups in personal & community peace journeys.

Can peace be taught and learned?

Yes! Peace can be taught and learned by people of diverse ages and abilities, and diverse nationalities and faiths. Peace can be introduced and explored through both formal and informal lessons, and also nurtured through play and everyday activities and interactions. Peace can be practiced in schools and homes, offices and places of worship, playgrounds and businesses. Teaching peace is more than just a lesson plan or service project or doing good deeds — it is learning about a way of being. 

What impact does studying peace have on our world? 

Teaching peace does not change the world; it is responding to what we learn — about the needs of others, about bullying, about resilience, about collaboration, and more — that creates change. No one person can end war — but every person can practice choosing gentle attitudes and habits, words and actions, and in doing so, begin peace. Peace grows when we learn to reflect and respond to situations, rather than retort and react.

Why is Mattie’s message a great tool for peace education?

Children, teens, and adults alike relate to Mattie because he was real. He experienced tragedy and triumph, bullying and blessings, and yet, he loved and celebrated life. He relied on a personal philosophy to motivate him during the tough times: “Remember to play after every storm!” 

Mattie reminds us that peace is not about having to agree with others, but about learning to be with others in respectful and non-violent and non-judgmental ways.

Mattie said, “We have, we are, a mosaic of gifts, to nurture, to offer, to accept.” He believed that “Peace is for all people!” and that “Peace is possible — if we choose to learn about peace, and to make peace something that matters for ourselves, for others, and for our world.”

Younger children are drawn to Mattie’s poetry on the seasons and his playful or sensory exploration of the world. Mattie’s “Heartsongs” help children explore purpose and peace, and happiness and hope, in exciting and memorable ways. Many children are inspired to create and share their own Heartsongs — through poetry, peace expressions, art, or photography.

Teens and adults are also drawn to Mattie’s life story, his peace poetry and essays, and his honest expressions about living with a life-threatening disability and coping with personal loss and global challenges. They are intrigued by Mattie’s use of “mosaic imagery” to illustrate peace, and inspired by his message of tending to basic human needs so that we can each “be okay with who and how we are” — which can lead to learning to “be okay with who and how others are” as well.

Mattie had a way of exploring and explaining peace so that it is not only believable, but also desirable and achievable for people of diverse ages and faiths. He moved “peace” from an abstract concept to an embraceable reality and personal choices. Through Mattie’s message, peace becomes something that we can each consider and choose for ourselves, for our communities, and for our world. Mattie’s message of hope and peace encourages us to look within for purpose and peace, which becomes a root of sharing our purpose and creating peace in the world.

How does Mattie’s Foundation support peace education? 

The mission of the Mattie J.T. Stepanek Foundation is to continue spreading Mattie’s message of hope and peace by:

  • Providing access to the message,
  • Promoting understanding of the message, and
  • Motivating people to action in sharing the message.

Mattie’s Foundation develops educational and recreational resources that encourage personal and community reflection on a variety of peace elements and characteristics that Mattie explored. We select and suggest particular quotes, poetry, and book excerpts to support people of diverse ages in understanding and choosing peace.

We also develop activities that encourage conversation and celebration among local and global neighbors as they respond to Mattie’s peace message, and that support them as they move from “attitude to action” and reach out to local and global neighbors with peace as a purposeful choice – transforming peace from a possibility to a reality.

What resources and activities does Mattie’s Foundation offer to support peace education?

Mattie’s Foundation offers peace tips and tools for educating people of diverse ages, abilities, faiths, and nationalities all around the world. Many of our Pathways to Peace Program resources and activities are available at no cost to participants and global neighbors. Some resources are available for a fee that covers materials or services, and that supports the ongoing work of Mattie’s Foundation. We rely on the generosity of people around the world who choose to support Mattie’s peace mission through program participation and through donations and in-kind gifts.

Many people begin a peace education journey by simply exploring Mattie’s website (www.MattieOnline.com), which is filled with quotes, poetry, photos, and videos by or about Mattie and his peace message. Some people then read (or re-read) one of Mattie’s books or his life story (Messenger), and register as members of our free online peace network. As people become more familiar with our website and Mattie’s message, they utilize more and more of our online resources and materials, and they get more involved with our activities and events. They also often begin sharing peace and our mission with others through these activities.

Our resources and activities are developed both for individuals (youth and adults) and for groups (families, clubs, schools, businesses, and communities of all sizes). Some activities can be completed by just following suggestions posted on our website. Other activities may involve conversation or facilitation by one or more members of Mattie’s Foundation, as we work with people and places who are seeking, making, bringing, and planning for peace.

For those people and places who choose to participate in our Peace Certification Program, we provide a more supported journey through Mattie’s “Three Choices for Peace.” Participants may receive our 24-page Peace Tips Guide or one of our Peace Tip Supplement Tools – each of which provides detailed information on key elements of Mattie’s message and guidance on adapting or creating an activity or plan that earns Peace Certification by Mattie’s Foundation.