Quakers use queries in different ways to encourage self-awareness for individuals and the community, to gain clarity, and to guide decision making. The first query of the year for the Lower Schoolers at Westtown School focused on the Quaker testimony of peace. For several days, students reflected on the query through class discussions and journal writing. Below is an excerpt from the minutes of a special Meeting for Worship called a Meeting for Business where students and faculty shared their thoughts on how to describe peace and how to work through conflict respectfully.
Lower School students believe that peace is something to strive for. They describe peace in many different ways, such as:
Peace is joy, peace is friendship.
Peace is respect.
Peace is stars and fireflies at night time.
Peace is taking care of promises you have made to the people around you.
Peace in your heart is acting with kindness, patience, and empathy for all.
Peace feels calm, kind, and quiet.
Students shared that Meeting for Worship and Quiet Time are good times to find peace while at school. Several students spoke of the importance of helping others and sharing feelings openly with friends. By acting this way, you will feel warm and fuzzy inside, and not cold and prickly. Another way of sharing and spreading peace is to help people who are in need, the way the Lower School is by collecting food for the Kennett Food Cupboard.