The great people at CESA 7, Chris and Amy recently hosted another Restorative Justice training. A one-day overview of Restorative Justice in schools was held in Green Bay. Together 18 of us took a good look into the philosophy and background of Restorative Justice in Schools. We did a demonstration Circle, my favorite part of learning about people.
I got to be amazed, (and I love being amazed) by the power of the first few stages in a Circle. I could feel it in the air when I started introducing the concepts, and we started writing values on paper plates. There is an uneasy or apprehensive sense. I wait until we’ve had the round of committing to the values, then I talk about how we might be feeling uncomfortable, but that’s okay, because to learn something new, or change, we are out of our comfort zone. Or something very similar, it depends on the group.
At the end of the Circle, when people were reflecting on the process, three people were very open that they didn’t know what to think at first, but found they really liked it. One valuable comment was that it was easy to see how the students might feel, after sitting in a Circle.
We did a simple round on “Tell me about your name, who were you named after, what do you know about your name, what do you think of your name?” We heard some terrific stories. We heard about native names, changed names, stories about being named and even how one name was purchased. Long names cost more and Irish people dropped “O’s”. This is when I feel Circle slow down, I start to cherish the time we are taking to listen to each person. Lewis Mehl-Madrona author of several books on healing and story telling, emphasized in a workshop that I attended that when we know someone’s story, they are a part of us forever. We remember the story, our brains, chunk information togheter.
Training and teaching brings me in Circle with people I might not otherwise meet. I really like what others bring to my life. It builds those connections. When I was at the Bruce Springsteen Concert at the X-cel energy center in St. Paul. I looked at the crowd, and wondered if by the time I die, could I meet this many people in Circle. What a crazy, odd thought. Being in Circle is aligned with who I am and how I make a difference in this world.
I LOVE . . . 1. Being in Circle 2. Networking 3. “aha” moments 4. change and transformation
Training for SCVRJP became a program in 2007, before that I would present at conferences and offer volunteer trainings locally. The local trainings started bringing in people from across the state. It’s really fun for me to know Carol, Paul and Evelyn from seperate Circle trainings and they all know each other. I love training for the networking. At the most recent training I got a “Kristin, says Hi”, and we chatted about the people at the Manitowac school I trained at (and several staff attended an earlier CESA training).
At the MADD Awards Banquet, two different officers remembered me from speaking at two different workshops. The first one that said hello to me, also said that when he saw “Restorative Justice” in the program, he thought it must be me. I then remembered his face and where he was at in the room. He seemed kinda shocked at that, and complimented my good memory. I liked his reaction to me remembering him, I bet that made him feel good. I thought another officer looked familiar, and he mentioned hearing me at the Traffic and Impaired Driving Law Conference. I said “yes, you were in the middle of the room”. Having them feel good about me remembering, made me feel good.
I need to work more on my networking. I called my mentor Jermaine Davis, he’s always full of ideas, suggestions, care and concern for me and my public speaking dreams. I told Jermaine how I get people asking me to come and speak at their conference, or come train at their schools and I don’t hear back. I kind of new the answer after I heard it. He told me to get their cards! To follow up with them, like I couldn’t have figured that out! So now I will be working on my TOMA, so bring your business card to the next training, I’m going to ask you for it! By the way TOMA – Top Of Mind Awareness. I want you to think about me for your next training or workshop!
“Aha” moments– this is when I see a face light up, or a strong nod in agreement. On of my favorites is explaining Thich Nhat Hanh’s definition of violence (anything that violates the integrity of another person). I then team that with James Garbino’s statement “Exclusion is a form of violence”. I also make statements “There is nothing new under the sun”, and “Be yourself only better”. The “aha” moments are like awakening people to the innate wisdom or core truths. The things we already know are true. I love doing that.
The final item I love about training and teaching is the reward that comes later. I’ve gotten feedback about parents giving staff talking pieces. Wow, that school sought out doing Circles, and I helped them. Now a Mom out there feels greatful enough to give a gift. Another school has eliminated the “naughty room” a place to send misbehaving students. One teacher did a quick hallway circle, she forgot community members, but positively said “I’ll never do that again”. I’ve had emails about family Circles improving communication. Connections and training techniques duplicated and producing powerful results.
Right now I have to thank my favorite Circle teachers, for helping me bring this to others.