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Pax in Sapientia

We are currently living through a time of great conflict in the world. War is brewing in the Middle East, Africa, and Europe all while the U.S. is more politically divided than ever. No matter one's background, it is impossible to avoid the effects of these conflicts. Whether that comes from learning about them in the news or discussing them with your friends at school, these conflicts are undeniably a part of daily life. For me, as a Jew and a staunch member of the Democratic Party, falling into an emotionally entrenched viewpoint can be easy. This can lead me to become irreverent of the way my words affect others. It is unwise to operate in the world like this.

As Abbey Boys, we all spend large parts of our days learning to have differing opinions while maintaining a peaceful environment. We do this simply through conversations in the classroom. We learn the importance of being thoughtful in the way we present our own views. We learn that it is essential to be well-researched so that we know what we are talking about. Most of all, our teachers drive home the importance of being respectful of our classmates' viewpoints, so that conversations do not turn into personal attacks.

The school’s motto is Pax In Sapientia, Peace In Wisdom. This motto is an excellent backbone for a way of life. Rather than approaching conversations about difficult issues with charged emotions and aggression, we should attempt to approach them with wisdom. We must be thoughtful in the way we present our views, well-researched in the topic we are discussing, and respectful of other viewpoints. In a time when our leaders attack each other personally, in a time when our own country is more divided than it has been since the Civil War, and in a time when the nations of the world are in conflict with each other, let us be committed to a different way. A way of wisdom that brings about peace.

In his message to the school community about the conflict in Israel, Abbot James called for all of us to be “fully committed to being genuine peacemakers”, asking that “concern for peace be reflected in the way we speak to and treat one another”. He could not have put it any better. There is no reason to create more conflict in this already troubled time for the world.

We should not avoid discussing difficult issues. In fact, the opposite is true. It is essential to discuss them. Leaving difficult issues unaddressed is dangerous, seeing as it can lead to a lack of knowledge of the world's problems. As young people in the world, it is important that we practice addressing difficult issues now so that we know how  to face them when we encounter them in the real world. When we discuss these issues, we should simply work to make peace within debate. There is no need to create more personal conflict. We should approach conversations with wisdom so that we can stay at peace with our Abbey family and anyone else we come in contact with.

As the world faces conflict, it is essential that we as Abbey Boys spend time discussing and thinking about these issues. Whether this is at school, at home, or in public, we must not be afraid to have difficult conversations. It is equally important that when we encounter these discussions we approach them with thoughtfulness in the way we present ourselves,  our knowledge of the topics, and our respect for others—all-around wisdom. This will allow us to bring peace to individual interactions as well as promote peace in the world.