My book, Travelling the Road of Peace and Happiness, looks at the sameness of being human and sets out the fundamental tools we need for dealing with problems and conflicts in life. The family is the setting for describing the use of each tool because everyone has some knowledge of family life and an opinion about how the various members of a family should act and be treated. For other settings, such as work or play, the challenge for all of us is to recognise the humanness of the people involved and consciously use the same fundamental tools, albeit in different ways. The fundamental tools are:
Grounded love is the first and most important tool. It is love grounded in equality that guides the use of all the tools described in the book. ‘Love’ includes virtues such as respect, assertiveness, care, protection, compassion and cooperation.
In the home and personal life it can be emotional love. In a group or work situation, it is generally referred to as our duty of care, which may have a minimum level enshrined in law.
A culture of equality can exist even though people have different duties, responsibilities, skills and knowledge, and they need the authority to perform those duties and meet their responsibilities.
Manners are used to establish trust and a sense of security. Manners form the base for mutual respect, establishing a culture of equality and cooperation. Manners lead to other useful tools such as the guidelines for resolving conflict, the guidelines for making rules people are likely to keep to, and the restorative action that does away with tools like manipulation, punishment, revenge and power struggles.
Regardless of the setting, example is the most effective way to teach and convey expectations of what to do and how to do it. Example is sometimes described as: walking the talk; practicing what you preach; showing how it can be done; and being the change you want to see happen.
Centring is focusing on something that helps you achieve the outcome you want. Sometimes it means focusing on the outcome itself and sometimes it means focusing on something seemingly unrelated to the outcome. Centring is a state of mind in which a person, the action and the outcome seem to become one.
The overall aim of Travelling the Road of Peace and Happiness is for Grounded Love, Manners, Example, Centring and all other tools and skills they lead to, will cease being regarded as tools, and become the normal way of relating to other people, regardless of their shape, size, age or colour.
Photo: Kakadu National Park N.T.