At this time... (1) Reaction or Response?

Updated: Jun 17

"At This Time..." - A Blog Series (Pt 1)

It has now been about 2 months since we were sent home to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus. At the time, the transition to teaching using video-conferencing and finishing up the semester preoccupied my time and kept me as busy or busier than usual. Like most, I followed the reaction to this mandate on FB, intrigued by the sudden proliferation of ideas for educators and parents for making the time at home meaningful for children and youth--some great ideas and also an important venue for people to not feel so alone.

As director of Relationships First-Restorative Justice in Education Consortium (RF-RJE), I felt a slight hint of irresponsibility in not providing guidance from the RJE perspective for those parents and educators who had committed themselves to engaging with restorative justice principles and practices. But it was only slight. The greater message echoing within was one that kept asking, “React or respond? React or respond? React or respond?” And I kept answering, “Respond. But not yet. Respond, but not yet. Wait till the dust settles, till it’s clear what the needs are, till it’s clear what the expectations are, till it’s clear what the reality is and what it might be, till …” And so here I am, after 8 weeks, apprehensively approaching this time of ‘till…’ The dust has not settled, it is not yet clear what the needs, expectations, and reality are. What is clear, however, is that we are living ‘something’ we have never lived before as a society, a community, a family, an individual. And this ‘something’ can be informed by RF-RJE, and RF-RJE can be informed by this ‘something’.

And so, in the invitational spirit of restorative justice, come with me as we question, apply, and engage with the essence of putting relationships first as a ‘way of being’ at this time. The reactions seem to have stilled. It’s time to respond.

[This blog series is intended for anyone who has an inkling that the time is now for re-imagining a new way of doing things, a way that authentically engages in a relational way with all people and our environment. It’s also for anyone, educator, parent, unemployed, employed, single, senior who grapples with how to navigate difficult situations, whether they be mundane (too much to do, to little to do, sharing home responsibilities, …) or complex (concerns for students in precarious situations, how to support home-schooling as a remote educator, hunger/rent/mortgage needs, marriage breakdown, substance abuse, career re-planning, …). Every few days I will post a short reflection with an invitation to apply a restorative justice principle and/or practice to your current lived reality in hopes that as we continue in/re-emerge from this time of isolation we can use it as a time to thrive instead of just survive.]