Restorative Justice offers victims and offenders an avenue for recovery and rediscovery.

sacagaweaI love teaching and training restorative justice.  It is true that when you teach something you have to know and understand it differently.  This week started out wtih a training for teachers.  It was an advanced session for those already using Circles in the classroom.  It was designed as a follow-up to a two-day Circle training offered last year, for the same district.  I learned a lot from the teachers and we explored some of my newly invented training activities.  For example we developed an icon, skills and qualities for each phase of the Circle.  I came up with one word to describe the role of the Circle-keeper in each phase.

The final phase, Taking Action I offered, Guide and Sacagewea was the selected icon.  We went on to list 5 qualities and 5 skills associated.  I would tell you these now, but my notes are in WI and I am in Idaho.  The skills and qualities was a fun challenge, I think it helped teachers realized that these are seperate things.  You can work on your skills and practice them, but you need to focus on who you are as a person to change/improve your qualities.

Funny side story – label on a tip jar:  If you are afraid of change, leave it here.  I bet I am the only person capable of being ADHD in person and in writing.

 Remember the restorative concept, all relationships are bilateral.  So as I give in training I also get.  It is important to look for these lessons in life.   Not only in life, but in continuing to develop your view and understanding of Restorative Justice.  That gets me back on track to the title of this post – that RJ offers an avenue for recovery and rediscovery.

My second major teaching/learning this week was a presentation at the Northwest Alcohol Conference.  By design a place for law enforcement and prevention (regarding underage and impaired driving) professionals to come together.  I got my conference material and immediately saw I was in the land of retribution.  Okay that might be exagerating it a little bit.  The sessions were on drug identification, underage drinking enforcement, making a good drunk driving arrest.  Then the coalition pieces like using media to promote your message.  The roster of attendess, cops, probation staff and few other related professionals.  So I knew I had to carefully craft my message – and not get dismissed as the “soft approach”.

Since I do two-day trainings, coming up with a 90 minute session is a piece of cake.  I put the finishing touches on my powerpoint an hour before my presentation.  View it on slide share.  I have so much fun when I do a workshop.  I just talk and tell stories and I really practice reading people and keeping them engaged.  I have a few lines and jokes I use and can delivery when needed.

It was a good group, and I walked the tightrope with law enforcement.  What I mean is that I kept it focused on effectiveness.  I talked about opportunities for this type of process.  The issues of Recovery and ReDiscovery – came out as common themes.  It is clear to me that regarless of your approach to crime (the bastards should pay – or lets talk about how your feel) – – you cannont deny that people are on a “new path”.

Offenders have a choice to continue down the road.   Victims have to face handling what happened.  Choices are around for everyone.  I think the avenue of Restorative Justice is just that, another option on the path.  We started out at a side trip maybe just a path in the woods.  As programs have developed and practioners have gotten more skills, it is a clear and helpful highway.

I really “owned” who I was in the presentation here in Idaha, but it grew in part out of my training with the teachers.  Catherine and I were able to poke fun at each other a little bit.  We teased about my style with the chimes and the touchy-feely language.  It was effective, because those in attendance realized there is room for different styles of Circle keeping.  As I exagerrated parts of my style and made fun of them, it made me more real about who I am.

Restorative Justice in my life – in these training examples allowed me some rediscovery of who I am and how I am.  It all worked very well, I had positive evaluations – with comment that I should be brought back and I would be recommended to a judicial panel as a speaker.

Remember to keep discovering who you really are and recover any parts of yourself that you let get lost in the shuffle of life.