3/5/2018 2:34:00 PM Local writer finds Chisago Lakes FFA eager to carry the message of Barnyard Buddies and their wise advice to STOP for Peace
Second and third graders at Primary School in Chisago City were learning about conflict resolution last week with a story read aloud by Chisago Lakes high school FFA students. This had all the hallmarks of being just a fun storytime, but the message in the lesson was so very important in this era of societal conflict.
The Future Farmers of America chapter members were reading aloud from Julie Penshorn’s STOP for Peace tale. The rhyming story imparts a lesson of respect and responsibility practiced by cartoon-like characters who are Barnyard Buddies.
The pig, goat, donkey and horse find themselves in a tense situation and the wise owl suggests how the best thing to do is remember the word STOP. The FFA student readers explain what the four letters stand for and also teach basic sign language to go along with the lesson.
Gradeschoolers had fun practicing the hand gestures and saying back what they had learned. The FFA students were scheduled to be at Taylors Falls Elementary School this week.
FFA Advisor Julie Mellum explained, “I think it’s imperative that children learn to serve others and the FFA motto is learning to do, doing to learn, earning to live and living to serve. When I saw this book with barnyard animals in it I thought it would be a perfect fit for our FFA week activities.”
So-- what do you do when you, as the book reinforces,
Stop for Peace? S reminds you to do just that-- stop, breathe, slow your emotions.
T means to tell others how you feel, inform somebody that they are making you feel bad.
O is a reminder to open your mind and be willing to receive what others are saying to you.
P is make a plan how to address the situation and solve it and even make sure it doesn’t happen again.
Penshorn, rural Chisago City, worked with illustrator Jorry Keith on the storybook. There are loose coloring sheets and a songsheet printed inside. Penshorn credits the content development assisted by Rebecca Janke, who has worked creating curriculum and counsels families to bring peace into childrens’ lives. This book is geared to children ages 3-8. Penshorn is a horse trainer and riding instructor and the barnyard animal setting for the story came naturally.
“Unresolved conflict is very stressful for children as for all of us,” she said.
Janke, who is Vice President for Growing Communities for Peace, a non-profit, commented, “What young children learn through repetition in rhyming stories and music sinks deeply into their hearts and minds and becomes a way of life.”
Penshorn said the program is being made available through the generosity of Chisago Lakes Rotary and business contributions from US Bank, Chisago City; Security State Bank in Lindstrom, Borealis Dental Studio and Sunborn Stables covering costs for two compact discs, a poster and music for the schools. The Minnesota FFA Alumni Association also gave the Chisago Lakes chapter a grant for 50 books.
To learn more about how to engage children to STOP for Peace, see the website for Smart Tools for Life, developers of materials for peace literacy through books and music.