Committee for Children Blog

“There Is No Way To Peace; Peace Is The Way.”

This week's blog post comes from Exececutive Director Joan Duffell.

Joan DuffellThese words from A. J. Muste have stayed with me since I first heard them in the mid-1960s. At the time, his statement was meant to dispel the giant myth that the Cold War buildup of nuclear weapons served as an effective peace-keeping force for the world. Muste countered this ideology by noting that the only way to true and lasting peace will come through our own daily actions in peacemaking.

These words still ring true for me as we at Committee for Children strive to do our part in building a better, more peaceful world for kids through social-emotional learning. I have long believed that since SEL plays a central role in our organization’s mission, shouldn’t empathy, respect, and prosocial problem solving also be living, breathing forces in our workplace relationships? Imagine my elation, then, when I learned that Committee for Children was ranked as a finalist “Best Workplace” in our state for the second year in a row!

Many companies in our region achieve Best Workplace status by offering high-value perks to staff: free espresso bar, gourmet food, gift cards, and other tangibles. Much as I would love to lavish our hardworking staff with gifts, Committee for Children is a nonprofit with limited resources (not unlike the schools we serve), so we have learned to focus on values and actions that contribute to a positive, healthy work environment. I’m talking about actions such as treating one another with fairness and respect; thanking people for a job well done; addressing interpersonal problems directly; making it okay to say “I don’t know,” “I need help,” or “Do you need help with that?”; remembering to laugh; and most important of all, keeping the communication lines open, even (especially!) when times are tough. Although we’re far from perfect, the effort we put into building a positive workplace environment reaps big rewards.

Committee for Children has long stood for the principle of teaching children skills to keep themselves safe and to be caring, respectful community members who treat others with kindness and compassion. I could not be prouder of everyone here who so clearly stands for exercising these same principles in our daily interactions at work. This, according to A. J. Muste, is truly how we will change the world.