December 5, 2018

Restorative Practices: A Way of Being Transformative

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This blog was written by Learning Leader Diane Stronks who is working alongside co-leader Alice Vanderkooy with Haitian educators and leaders as part of the Christian Education in Haiti: A Restorative Approach Walking Together project.

When we think about the importance of "who we are?" as God's children, we recognize that all of us are God's image-bearers whether we identify as believers or not.  One of the surprising things when people begin to thinking restoratively is the universality of emotion and experience.  When our participants were asked to think about a time when they felt lonely or left out or unappreciated, the similarities of their experiences surprised them.  On the other hand, when we asked our participants to think about a time when they felt that they belonged, it was again amazing how similar peoples' emotions were.

God has created each of us for community; every person in the world needs community.  It is in our DNA.  Restorative practices give us ways to build community and to repair brokenness.  In actuality, restorative practices seem quite simple and not difficult to implement.  Our participants at CRECH come from many walks of life and many different types of organizations and institutions, but today they remarked again how applicable restorative practices are in families, schools, universitites, workplaces, government organizations and churches.

In the end, the goal is to change our way of being.  We become a people who are "shalom-makers"; people who look for ways to create space for restoration and reconciliation wherever we go.

It has been exciting to hear how our participants have already applied their knowledge and practices at home, in their workplaces and in the church.  It was amazing to hear them dream about transforming their institutions for the good of children but also the adults.

 

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