Developing belonging as a life skill and a restorative justice skill.

Lets put value on ‘belonging’.

Look at all the books on LOVE.  The efforts at PEACE.  Not to minimize the importance of either of these but what if we learned to make people feel like they BELONG.

What about embracing our own selves, and our own place in our community.

How do we nuture our own belonging.  How do we cultivate the belogning of those around us?

I’ve had my mind occupied with a number of things recently.  Our upcoming fundraiser and several cases.  I’ve found a solace in “spacing out”.  I noticed that driving into work I would stay right behind a car.  Usually I speed past those driving the speed limit.  The third time I found myself doing this, I decided this was a “blogg-able” moment.  I started to self-analyze.  What was the comfort here?  Why was I willing to be car two, instead of speeding ahead to get to my destination?

I decided it was belonging.  Letting someone else be first held safety for me.  I just had to follow.  My task was to keep from tailgaiting.  This slight focus led me to use other parts of my brain for mulling over my life.  I reflected on the protected feeling, and I realized that as well, is an aspect of belonging.

By focusing on belonging – who we are connected to, how we are connected to them, we remember our responsibilities.  I love the Mother Theresa quote about ‘belonging’, and I didn’t like the person who was distant from that concept, I posted on that here.

East Side Arts Council Program
East Side Arts Council Program

A recent discussion included the question of “boundaries” in Restorative Justice.  How do we hold victims close to our hearts and then go work with offenders.  My feedback was that this is a particular skill, and requires focus and being fully present for the person you are with.

It also requires viewing crime/conflict by placing the issue in the center, and detaching the behavior from the person.  I think it also requires us to ‘BELONG” to the problem.  To take some ownership in the crime/conflict and lend our skills to helping with restoration.

As our class watched “Meeting a Killer“, I was thinking about the volunteer facilitator I had in our class as a guest.  We don’t go unchanged as facilitators, and I saw Ellen Halbert, acknowledge the personal impact in the film.  If you haven’t viewed this powerful story that shows the impact of RJ Conferencing you should watch it.

Think about ‘belonging’ and the wonderful concepts of attachment parenting.   I find those concepts consistent with restorative justice.  Taking care of each other increases our sense of committment, our sense of belonging.

I think that belonging is part of community.