My daughter Kylie had a real appetite to read. I was really blessed to have such a brainy kid. She was counting in Spanish and had well mastered the ABC’s by 3. She wanted to know what words were. She started reading a menu. “One egg, two eggs”. She was one of two little girls who could already read when they started kindergarten. Her other friend was Annu, and Annu’s parents both had PHD’s and taught for the Univesity. I nutured Kylie’s love of reading and she was always supplied with the latest “Junie B. Jones” on “Boxcard Children Series”. My little assertive reader knew (at 6) to approach bookstore staff and ask for the Jr. Reader section. On more than one occasion confused staff would look at me in disbelief. Partial disbelief of the clarity of the request and confidence from a young child – and most would ask “can she read those books?” To which Kylie would usually answer for herself “yes, I’ve read the whole series so far”. Her emphasis was on an urgency for the staff to get her to the section of books. I so appreciate the young book worm types that would turn on heel and walk her right to the section.
So when Kylie came home and told me about DEAR time. D. drop E.everything A.and R.read, it was a natural fit for us. I used to love having her lay in bed with me, her leg flipped over the top of mine and we would be reading in silence side by side. Occasionally one or the other would ask, “how’s your book”. I remember once she decided she might like a section of Harry Potter better if I read it outloud to her.
So today – I am teaching a class on School-Based Restorative Justice and I told the story of a young man who would announce in class ” I smell a Circle”. He was indicating that conflict was rising to the level of needing to be addressed in the Circle process. It was these teens way. He said it in an escalating voice that was really fun. I guess that reminded his peers enough, I never got to a Circle that was ‘sniffed out’.
Somehow that idea of spontaneous issue Circles led to me mentioning DEAR, and one of the trainees in the group – thought up DEAR for Circles. Drop Everything and Relate!
I loved it! Because Restorative Circles are about relationships and whether you are the person authoring the harmful behavior, the target or the bystander you can probably relate to it. Or just doing Circles as community building – people relate to the values in a Circle. That is worthy of a discussion. You can just discuss with young people how they best relate to each other.
From what I’ve seen middleshool kids want trust, high schools want respect and and men in 1/2 way houses want love. (Based on the values most mentioned by those groups).
So how about in your own relationships . . . D. E. A. R.!