Aug. 13, 2010: Will 2010 Year of Peace extend into 2011 and beyond? by Sister Jean Rosemarynoski

August 13, 2010 by

We are more than halfway through the Concordia Year of Peace, and already people have asked us to continue it beyond 2010. We like that idea and are making plans to do that — but we need input and suggestions! To share your ideas, contact any of the committee members:  Bob Steimel, Lorene Steimel, Charles Johnson, Pat Gerhardt, Sue Sutton, Patrick Sieben, Kim Krull and Sisters Mary Jo Thummel, Julie Christensen, Carolyn Teter, Janet Lander, Anna Marie Broxterman and me.

One of the things I have wondered about with the Year of Peace initiative is how to ensure that it is not simply a nice slogan or passing gesture, but rather a grassroots movement that is both reducing violent behavior (ranging from rude comments to physical harm) and increasing positive actions such as respect and courtesy.

There really is no way to measure that but we believe that if every Concordian does his or her part, it sends a ripple throughout the community that, even though it can not be measured, can be sensed.

This month’s Year of Peace theme focuses on leadership — especially having the courage to lead nonviolently.

What comes to mind when you hear or read the words “leader” or “leadership”? We hope that among the images that surface is you.

Each one of us has multiple opportunities throughout the day to exhibit leadership. Sometimes the smallest things that seem inconsequential can exert the biggest influence.

One example of that for me was seeing an adolescent begin shaking when he accidentally knocked something from a shelf. He fully expected the adult with him to become angry. But rather than react in anger, the adult assured the boy that accidents happen and helped him pick the object off the floor. It might have seemed like a small thing to the adult but it was a huge example of leadership for the child. It was also a more powerful lesson to the boy about being careful than any scolding could have conveyed.

When I think about how often throughout the day I have a choice to show nonviolent leadership, it can be mind-boggling. It includes everything from choosing to obey traffic regulations while driving to being courteous to clerks in the store to listening to someone whose point of view with which I disagree.

Leadership also means being courageous enough to get involved if someone is being mistreated or abused and needs help.

For the Year of Peace Committee, that means acknowledging that Concordia has a domestic violence problem that needs to be addressed.  We plan to partner with the police chief, the Domestic Violence Association of Central Kansas (DVACK) and others to learn how to best confront this issue.

We know it is often the friends and neighbors of abuse victims who are key to getting them help. So if you know or suspect child abuse, sexual abuse or domestic violence, exert your leadership skills and call the authorities.  You may be the only hope that person has. And if you know someone you believe may have the potential to be an abuser, encourage that person to seek help.

Concordia needs all of us working together to help make this an even better place to live. It is the small, sometimes unseen, acts of quiet leadership that provide the firm foundation.

— Sister Jean Rosemarynoski is a member of the Leadership Council of the Sisters of St. Joseph and head of the Concordia Year of Peace Committee. If you have ideas or suggestions for committee or want to get involved with the Year of Peace, contact Sister Jean at 243-2149 or sisterjean@csjkansas.org, or any of the other committee members.

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