My Peace Autobiography

Teachers Without Borders Peace Education Course – Blog #1 (10/7/2011)

PeaceAs part of my first assignment for the Peace Education Course, here is my response to the questions: How did you get here? Why are you taking this course? And what is peace education to you?

My “path to peace” is one that I reflect upon quite often. As a child, I was raised in a family that practiced the Baha’i Faith. The Baha’i Faith has instilled many important teachings within me that I still value strongly, such as the unity of God, religion, and humankind, the equality of men and women, the elimination of prejudice, the harmony of science and religion, and the independent investigation of truth.

Unfortunately, I grew up in a world where these principles are not the reality. What I saw and experienced in the community, at school, on TV, and even in my own family, social circle, and inner-self, was often quite different. The presence and “normalcy” of prejudice, selfishness, injustice, and violence has always made me ask the question “why?” It is this questioning that has led me on the “path to peace.”

As I reflect, another key moment comes to mind. I entered my first “serious relationship” when I was 17 years old. I thought that I had discovered “true love.” However, as the relationship progressed, we began to argue quite frequently, often leaving each of us emotionally distressed, eventually deteriorating the relationship. Then came the second serious relationship. This time I thought I had REALLY discovered “true love.” But again, our relationship went through a similar process of common conflict and argumentation. I thought to myself, “How can two good-hearted people, who claim to love each other, end up in a ‘war of words’?” Being inquisitive, I sought help from a counselor. Then came the “a-ha” moment…

After some discussion about the troubles I had been having, the counselor mentioned that I seem to respond to conflict in an aggressive way. She explained, “There are 3 ways to deal with conflict. You can respond passively (the other person matters, and I don’t matter), you can respond aggressively (I matter, and the other person doesn’t matter), or you can respond assertively (I matter AND the other person matters).” I had only been focused on getting my own needs met, at the expense of the other person’s emotions. And what was most alarming, I was doing this subconsciously! At that moment, all I could think of was, “Why didn’t anyone ever teach me this?!”

From that point on, I’ve had to constantly remind myself, “The other person matters too.” At times, it’s been a struggle, as it’s difficult to correct twenty years of a learned behavior.

Which leads me to why I’m taking this course. Since that moment with the counselor, I’ve been on a continuous path in learning how to build peace. A shelf full of books about how to make a profit was replaced with one on how to be nonviolent, a summer vacation lounging on the beach was exchanged for a volunteer trip to Costa Rica, a career motivated by power and higher salary was traded for year of service helping to educate those in need. My recent discovery of “peace education” has led me on a quest to learn all that I can and share all that I know with the world. My hope is that this course will provide me with the foundation to do just that.

What does “peace education” mean to me? It means enlightening the hearts and minds of humanity to the fact that EVERYONE matters.

In Peace,

Colby Jeffers

 

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9 thoughts on “My Peace Autobiography

  1. Richard Jeffers

    Colby, I enjoyed your My Peace Autobiography. It has a lot of good insight and is well written and therefore, easy to understand your ideas and thought process. I am very proud of you and your desire to make the world a better place. Keep up the good work. Love Dad
    Note-I am not as technologically savvy as you. How do I let other people know about you blog. Do I just send them the link?

  2. Richard Jeffers

    I tried giving you 5 stars, but it kept going back to 1 star. Can I delete the 1 star rating. I don’t want to bring down your average. How do I give you 5 stars??

    • lol, i tried clicking onto the 5 starz & it gave out 4 1/2….that’s progress over the 1 star, richey boy, haha….luv, jillybean~:D

  3. Colby,

    Don’t know if you remember me but I went on that ISV trip to Costa Rica too. I am going into teaching also, so I really enjoyed reading this and seeing another persons journey to becoming a teacher. I really connected with your idea of learning about yourself first, before you can start teaching. This is something I am going through right now, trying to reflect on my past experiences and attempting to understand how they affect my behaviors and beliefs today. Its tough to make connections, especially when you find something that you view as negative about yourself. But, I think its tough just because most, if not all, people fear change. Great job again and I look forward to reading more.

    Eric Phelps

    • Eric! Good to hear from you man! And I’m glad you enjoyed reading the my blog entry! It really is crazy how your childhood has such a huge impact (often subconsciously) on how you behave as an adult. And it really takes a lot of courage and strength to admit your own faults and change some of the behaviors you’re not happy with.

      Quick note – I’m actually interning for the organization Teachers Without Borders, within their Peace Education Program, and taking the course as part of my internship. I’m going to school for Social Justice and Human Rights, and I’m not quite sure what I’ll be pursuing as a career when I’m done (not necessarily teaching, but it’s definitely a possibility!)

      Awesome to hear that you are pursuing a career in teaching. I’d love to hear about your experience in teaching as you move forward (as it’s such an admirable and important role in the evolution of humanity). We’ll definitely have to keep in touch.

  4. Hey Colby, you are one cool cat, lord what a fine nephew you are:) I know your Baba J is surely doing cartwheels in heaven seeing the path your life has taken in the name of peace, justice, humanity. You are the true definition of what being a World Citizen is all about. So keep on truckin’ lad, you are blazing a trail for others to follow & you are making a difference in this mucked up old world of ours, to help make it shine again, people need to shine first! Rock on with your brilliance! I love you, Aunt Jilly ~ xo

  5. Hi Colby!

    As someone who has been so blessed to have gotten know you inside and out for the past year+, I am truly amazed at the person you are and the love you have for this world. Your faith in God is sincere, the way you connect with perfect strangers with such loving-kindness is admirable, and your determination to bring peace to this world is inspiring. Even before we met, we shared similar passions, but I can say with certainty that I would not have as strong a desire to actually carry out my plans to help the world without your support and infectious positive attitude to inspire change. I will forever feel amazingly blessed to be your girlfriend, your partner in serving our world, and your best friend.

    I love you!
    Mallory

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