David Trinko: Bringing peace with our own actions


By David Trinko - The Lima News



Louise Matthews, right, of the Lion and Lamb Peace Arts Center at Bluffton University, leads third-graders at Liberty Arts Magnet in an exercise Thursday. She asked pupils and teachers to show how you play your favorite instrument, to show children what they have in common with one another.

Louise Matthews, right, of the Lion and Lamb Peace Arts Center at Bluffton University, leads third-graders at Liberty Arts Magnet in an exercise Thursday. She asked pupils and teachers to show how you play your favorite instrument, to show children what they have in common with one another.


Willie Jefferson, a third-grader at Liberty Arts Magnet, plays a drum during a song Thursday.


Louise Matthews, of the Lion and Lamb Peace Arts Center at Bluffton University, has Liberty Arts Magnet third-graders and staff model clothing from around the globe Thursday morning.


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See past columns by David Trinko at LimaOhio.com/tag/trinko.

Subscribe to the Trinko Thinks So podcast at LimaOhio.com/podcasts.

LIMA — Louise Matthews is on a mission for peace.

On Thursday morning, she shared that message with third-graders at Liberty Arts Magnet in Lima. She repeated it several times for different classes at the school. The message should be the same for college kids and adults — or even national politicians.

”First of all, I think peace and justice is good for everybody,” said Matthews, the director of the Lion and Lamb Peace Arts Center at Bluffton University. “So, when I stay focused on the fact that if we’re harming people in any way, we need to stop and think about what the impact is that we have on others.”

It’s a simple enough message, but sometimes it can be lost on the more mature elements of society.

That’s why it was nice to see Matthews working with the diverse group of students at Liberty on Thursday. The children, who she described as “like little sponges, soaking up everything they hear around them,” were happy to sing along while Matthews played her autoharp to a catchy tune with an important message.

“I can make the world a better place to be,” according to the refrain. “All it takes is kindness and truth to set us free. Every act of kindness is an act of peace.”

Matthews has been delivering the message to learners of all ages for 18 years. The Lion and Lamb Peace Arts Center revolves around the image of a lion and a lamb peacefully coexisting instead of being enemies.

Some people have more openness to these ideas.

In recent years, the message seems to be more about how we divide ourselves within our own society.

“It’s OK to notice the differences and the similarities, but if we start dividing ourselves by our differences, I think we do ourselves harm,” Matthews said. “I think differences and diversity are amazing. If we can find ways to learn from each other, rather than separating ourselves — and that is political, that’s religious, that’s ethnic, it’s all the things — if we separate ourselves from people that we perceive to be different, we are not benefitting.”

Perhaps it’s true what they say, that you learn everything you need to know in kindergarten, or at least third grade at Liberty on Thursday.

Consider these lessons from the “ABCs of Life,” which Matthews shared with the children: “Accept differences.” “Be kind.”

With all the conflict in the world, you’d suspect Matthews would lose her optimism. Au contraire.

“I look for little glimpses of peace, little glimpses of hope, because they’re always there,” she said.

It’s always there inside of each of us. We just have to make the effort to understand and think about how we’re affecting others.

“It helps us focus on the message and a perspective that may be different than what we’re used to hearing,” Matthews said. “So as things are happening, we’re processing them and thinking about our own attitudes, actions, our words, our silence. All of those impact other people. And the challenge is to think about how they’re impacting them. And if it’s not in positive ways, then I just encourage us to do some changing.”

https://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2021/10/web1_NewMugTrinko-Square.jpg
Louise Matthews, right, of the Lion and Lamb Peace Arts Center at Bluffton University, leads third-graders at Liberty Arts Magnet in an exercise Thursday. She asked pupils and teachers to show how you play your favorite instrument, to show children what they have in common with one another.
https://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2021/10/web1_LionLamb2.jpgLouise Matthews, right, of the Lion and Lamb Peace Arts Center at Bluffton University, leads third-graders at Liberty Arts Magnet in an exercise Thursday. She asked pupils and teachers to show how you play your favorite instrument, to show children what they have in common with one another.
Willie Jefferson, a third-grader at Liberty Arts Magnet, plays a drum during a song Thursday.
https://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2021/10/web1_LionLamb7.jpgWillie Jefferson, a third-grader at Liberty Arts Magnet, plays a drum during a song Thursday.
Louise Matthews, of the Lion and Lamb Peace Arts Center at Bluffton University, has Liberty Arts Magnet third-graders and staff model clothing from around the globe Thursday morning.
https://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2021/10/web1_LionLamb4.jpgLouise Matthews, of the Lion and Lamb Peace Arts Center at Bluffton University, has Liberty Arts Magnet third-graders and staff model clothing from around the globe Thursday morning.

By David Trinko

The Lima News

ONLY ON LIMAOHIO.COM

See past columns by David Trinko at LimaOhio.com/tag/trinko.

Subscribe to the Trinko Thinks So podcast at LimaOhio.com/podcasts.

David Trinko is managing editor of The Lima News. Reach him at 567-242-0467, by email at dtrinko@limanews.com or on Twitter @Lima_Trinko.

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David Trinko is managing editor of The Lima News. Reach him at 567-242-0467, by email at dtrinko@limanews.com or on Twitter @Lima_Trinko.

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