Harmony is a pervasive force. When I stand in a forest on a summer morning surrounded by the sound of waking critters, I hear harmony, and simultaneously in another portion of me I feel harmony. When I hear a musical chord or hear assorted instruments play together, I hear harmony. When I see children play together, I see harmony – and I experience harmony. Harmony takes place around me and that harmony includes me. It occurs to me that perhaps there is something I can to to increase the level at which the surrounding harmony can reach me personally – where I can more deeply experience the harmony and the “play together.”
A key word here is play. Harmony conjures up a sense of play and of pleasing qualities. In the guitar chord or an orchestral blend there can be play and entwining vibrations that bring pleasure to our senses. Yet pleasure to our senses does not necessarily mean a saccharine sweetness or a Pollyanna experience. A minor-key experience will hold a different quality. A discord will produce a qualitatively different experience altogether. Still there can be play.
Another key word here is the word together. With harmony we speak about the between of things – between instruments, strings, voices, people or nations. There can be play and at the same time disagreement. There be dark chords and bright chords. Different effects- different play. I one time watched three boys arguing on a playground. Things became heated and I waited, while closely observing. Before devolving into serious conflict, they came running to me, each pleading his case. I listened and didn’t say much. I didn’t need to. I acknowledged that I heard what they had to say and asked if there was anything else. They left and went their separate ways. But moments later I noticed that they were playing together and seeming to have a great time of it. Sometimes they argued. Sometimes they laughed. They were involved in the ebb and flow of accord and discord – yet there was some harmony to it all. The time that harmony gets lost is when there is mean-spiritedness – when there is intent to harm.
These boys came to me to let out the steam building up toward deeper anger. They were angry but they were not aiming to injure or hurt. We adults might take lessons from them. How quickly they let go of any perceived infractions or any righteous perspectives they held. They just went on with their play.
When I look at the definitions for harmony I see:
And when I watch the children on a playground I see that some level of discord can also be found within the hold of harmony, as long as it doesn’t sink into a smallness of mind or of heart where we wish to cause damage to another.
Anger is found in the title of this web-site as it is one of the most prevalent forces to be found in our schools that can cause trouble, from the subtle to the extreme. It will be explored, from many points, to see where tools might be developed, to see where value might be discovered. Harmony, and its darker sibling disharmony, in their many forms will be explored as well. All with the goal of providing rich learning experiences for children, teens, adults.