At a recent staff meeting, I asked everyone for blogging permission. Which was actually kind of a funny question, I’ve never been asked that. The girls had a few questions, asked for examples. I usually ask for permission on specific statements, or experiences. I was asking them for ‘carte blanche’ permission. We discussed the important part of the blog, is the lesson it contains, and by not being descriptive of the players, keeping that in the background and the lesson in the foreground, was my approach. I did point out that a blog that said ‘coworker’ could mean the three of them.
We continued our discussion with a few examples. I offered them read it first rights, like I used to do with an old boyfriend. Who once had me change ‘alcohol’ to ‘beer’. The staff declined the need to read things first, and put their trust in me. I said if I felt like I might step on toes, I would run it by them. I was trusted. I was really, really trusted to use our office interactions where they could promote lessons and learnings about restorative justice. I felt proud, honored, connected, respected and that made me feel even more accountable to do what I said. I thought of this later, and I realized how that kind of trust comes so easily in Restorative Justice sessions.
Juvenile cases, with parents attending, or adult cases, volunteers/community members in the room, really seem to put faith in those that are required to attend, the x-offenders. The trust of strangers seems to mean a lot to the participants. Parents seem to be cross-contaminated, with hope for their child.
Our restorative justice sessions also seem to use gratitude. I love theWoodbury Bikram Yoga studio model:
You are always safe in gratitude.
I’ve been using that in conversations lately, and using it on myself. Safety feels good, it feels like belonging. I am in gratitude for my coworkers trust. I am also really impressed with this feeling of being trusted, and as it will help me be better, wiser, more aware and appreciative of the gift of trust, I hope others that are trusted, specifically those that come through our restorative justice program, that they feel this trust.
Restorative justice work has put me in front of a few “empathy-impaired” individuals (none my coworkers!). Childhood issues, like neglect and being exposed to trauma cause some empathy impairement. These people are the bite before bit types. The mantra of the empathy impaired: If I am stolen from it means I get to steal. I myself was faced with this recently, someone took the parking spot I had been waiting for. As I was angry, off my center, I thought how I would just go burn the next person. Now I caught myself, and I remembered who I want to be. Empathy-impaired people can’t easily get back to that center. I believe restorative justice can help, as people show those centers of empathy to others. Being empathetic takes a little trust.
As we trust and support people that have done harm, we help them. We trust them because they need to feel a belonging and a connection to not hurt other people. Coworkers trusting a boss that blogs, made me feel connected.
Is there somewhere you could extend trust? Is there someone trusting you, that you could be safe in that gratitude?