WHO WE ARE There are some fundamental concepts that we believe to be true, based on many years of interacting with children (including our own), with educators, and other members of our communities. It may help you to know these at the outset. We invite you to explore what we’ve found to be true, and to develop your own beliefs.
- All people, including children and youth, have great value.
- There are no ‘bad people’, just behaviours that harm ourselves and/or others.
- We all harm others, and we are all harmed by others. This happens again and again, on a daily basis, as this is part of being human.
- Everyone, including every child and teenager, has an important role to play in finding our collective answers.
- Learning is more meaningful and lasting when it involves experiences which are real, which touch our hearts, bodies and spirit, as well as our minds.
- All behaviour has meaning. When someone behaves in a way that harms her/himself or others, there is an underlying reason. Conflict gives us an opportunity to be curious about this underlying reason, provide supportive care, and work for changes that are substantive and lead us towards justice. (See – there are no ‘bad kids’…)
- We all need the support and love of those around us to flourish to our greatest capacity.
- Feelings and emotions can be important indicators of ‘what is true’ for us. They can remind us of our history, our relationships and our potential. They should not be ignored.
- Anger (or any other emotion) is not a bad thing. Sometimes it can spur us to action to right a wrong. The same is true of rage. Our behaviour, when we are affected by anger and rage, on the other hand, can be dangerous. We can learn to control our behaviour when experiencing strong emotions.
- Addressing conflict is and will always be a fundamental part of our lives. For this reason, we have an obligation to model and teach ways of processing conflict which are constructive, productive and caring.
- Knowing one another more fully, and paying particular attention to what harms each other, leads to a stronger, and more resilient and caring community.
- Paying close attention to our shared values helps us develop involvement and commitment to our communities.
- The more you coerce anyone to do anything, the more resistance you will encounter. Encouragement is important, however. (Encouragement is encouraged!)
- When someone is harmed in our community, we all share a responsibility to everyone affected. Fulfilling this obligation creates the opportunity for us to repair the harm (as much as possible). More importantly, it allows us to continue living together peacefully.
- No law or rule will consistently produced good behaviour (or stop bad behaviour), nor will a fear of sanction; we can not legislate honourable behaviour or people. It is also true that behaviour controlled or moderated by fear will deteriorate (or become more honest) when authority is removed. It does not encourage good citizenship. Relationships and caring can, however, encourage good behaviour and honour.
- When we appoint people in our communities to enforce rules or laws, we are creating potentially damaging situations for them and our communities. We concentrate much of our collective trauma in the people who do this work, creating harm for them. We are abrogating our responsibilities.
|Who We Are|Meredith and Marc|Associates|