The NFL has been tackled this year by violence - domestic violence, whoopings and concussions. I'll leave the sport and its rules to the NFL, but the issue of violence in the home is one that we should be long past by now. And the problem will not be solved by throwing a bunch of money at it. An entire ethos shift is necessary, combined with a strategy for dealing with discipline and anger that works better than knockouts and black eyes.
A National Learning Opportunity
The home should be a sanctuary, where everyone is inspired to be the best that they can be. Whipping and smacking simply doesn't achieve this, but neither does time-out. The Dalai Lama's Peace Zone does.
In life, there are all kinds of adversaries and obstacles. Understanding how to uplift the situation is not always easy. A toddler on a playground will see a bright, shiny toy and grab it - even if it is in the hands of another. The baby who has been robbed will try to snatch it back, even if that requires bashing the other baby on the head. What angered Ray Rice so much that he spit upon and socked his fiancé in the face? Why does Adrian Peterson whip his boys? In all of these situations, the Dalai Lama's Peace Zone is a place to contemplate more mindful resolutions to the conflicts. For Rice and Peterson, it's a way to break the cycle of violence; for the babies, it's cognitive learning beyond the lizard brain response.
The Peace Zone makes so much more sense than having an arbitrary time limit and time-out, where no real reflection and learning occurs. In time-out, a child can actually exit the punishment space after XYZ period of time without any insight at all into how s/he is going to make amends and act differently going forward.
So What is a Peace Zone?
The Peace Zone is a designated sanctuary in the home, filled with books, pillows, yoga mats and/or meditation aids. Inspiring quotes and posters of peaceful leaders decorate the walls - such as Martin Luther King's immortal quote, "Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that."
When a child acts inappropriately they are there for as long as it takes to discover a more peaceful resolution to their problem - something that the environment itself helps to inspire. Whether that process takes 30 seconds or 30 minutes is up to them. When they have figured out the solution, they share this with the parent and make amends with the injured party.
Having a child see you, the parent, sitting in the Peace Zone contemplating better solutions is a great example for them. All of us have challenges that require quiet contemplation and rethinking. It is rare for the knee jerk response to be the right one - even when we have trained our bodies and our fight-or-flight response to serve our highest good.
Today, step away from chaos and confrontation and into the Peace Zone, even if it is only a picture in your mind. If you smell anything that stinks of conflict, worry, doubt or fear, then snatch yourself by your own collar and lead yourself out into the fresh air of love, breathing, forgiveness, gratitude, faith, wisdom and conscious creation. You don't have to feel these things about the situation or the person who fired up your adrenalin. Simply choose, for the entire day, to put aside that anger and focus on people, situations, possibilities and feelings that build you up and make you happy. Whatever conflict needs to be resolved can wait until tomorrow.
You don't always have to confront things head-on - unless you are in a life or death situation. Sometimes walking away is the best strategy. The battle you win is the one you don't show up for.