In February 2008 SCVRJP was recognized by the American Probation and Parole Association. The APPA is a organization of 30,000 US & Canadian Correctional Officers. We were given the award at Winter Training Institute in Phoneix Arizona. The day we left there was a 19 below windchill! It was really great to walk outside without a jacket, even eat supper outside.
The training sessions were great, if you ever get to go, it’s an excellent conference. I was preparing my powerpoint and decided I needed an image on my first slide, rather that just the few statements that people would already know, if they were in the session. I picked the rollercoaster, letting my audience know, this was going to be a ride! I made it clear that I was passionate about this stuff! I keep and was gifted a VERY positive attitude.
This week’s tip is about the importance of a positive attitude, when you do RJ or keep Circles. So often people expect young people to simply “flip the switch”. It’s wrong, don’t do it again. When in reality, children developing values is more like training a dog to go outside, or helping our infants learn to walk. Neither dog training and walking happens after one try. If you are going CHANGE MORAL CHARACTER, do we really want that to happen at the flip of a switch. What if in a new enviornment or context the person flips a different switch, one of doing something more destructive.
You’ve got to keep the attitude that you ARE making a difference. You’ve got to understand that a Circle can have a healing impact, EVEN for the youth that passes every time. It’s combined with trusting the process. Let go of your own personal expectations and outcomes. RJ/Circles are to be done neutral, letting the process be the impact. You can find the “bless in the mess” you just need to look closely.
Recently someone mentioned, not liking a Circle we were part of, even asking if I taught the young people about a key stage of the process. I was so shocked this person “didn’t like” a Circle. At first I was put off or a little offended. I wanted to be defensive, and I might have been a little bit. But, oh well, I had a great time, I thought it was amazing the group that came together. I think it was an example of expecting a different outcome.
You can head into a Circle – expecting everyone to honor the talking piece, expecting that no one will get angry, but when it comes to human beings, you get what you get. I did my best to remind people, but I also forgot a key part – committing to the values. So I say it was positive, even I mess up sometimes, and that’s okay.
Keep a positive attitude about young people, about those that have broken the law and most importantly yourself!
Happy Day! – - Kris