Applying Restorative Responses
Updated: Aug 19, 2019
In today's Chicago Tribune Dahleen Glanton explains the value of "someone [doing] something racially insensitive. . .[discussing his actions] with someone he has hurt." The person "comes away understanding why [his actions are] painful." This is a restorative process which allows individuals to better understand the impact of their actions on others, whether intentional or not. Restorative Justice implements circles, conferences, dialogue between victim and offender, as well as other practices which give both parties a chance to share thoughts, feelings, and questions about "wrongdoing" and the effects of those behaviors on all who may be influenced by the situation. The restorative process leads to greater understanding for both parties, to possible healing and restoration. As Thich Nhat Hanh teaches, greater understanding leads to increased compassion. This results in positive outcomes for everyone.
We need more of this today when there are too much judgment, criticism, divisiveness and exclusion in our thinking which result in our ensuing negative rhetoric and behavior. As Maryanne Williamson suggests, these negative beliefs are motivated by Fear while a kinder, more compassionate stance is born of Love. Let's stop pointing fingers, criticizing and choosing to punish others for being different, for sometimes making mistakes, and start sharing our discomfort, confusion, and even possible curiosity with each other whenever we face people, behavior, or ideas that we don't understand or agree with. We, then, need to learn how to listen better when other people speak. Finally, we will be able to stop talking, open our hearts and extend our hands to one another in unity and support!