Ask yourself this question. "In the past few weeks have you done anything nice for family or friends"? Seeing as it's just a few days out from Christmas, there's a good chance most, if not all of you, have done something positive in this regard. Even allowing for you-know-what (you'll forgive me if I don't mention a certain current world crisis) most of us have bought at least one present or sent at least one card - full disclosure I've done exactly one of each (my wife is way too good to me when it comes to this stuff). Even those of you who are not exactly mad about the idea of Christmas have probably participated to some degree or other. One of the most interesting things I've been part of lately is a "Twelve Days of Christmas RP Circle" with a group of teachers on whatsapp. We took turns each day thinking of a Christmas related question, e.g. favourite present, favourite smell, what would you ask Santa for, etc, etc. It was great fun, had loads of variety with the different answers and it genuinely created connection and increased community amongst the group. Oh, and by the way, it's demonstrated a little bit of what RP is like along the way.
Which brings me to the title above. The fact is we all go that extra mile and do these things for Christmas, when maybe we're not as quick or as disciplined to do things the rest of the year. And, yes, I know what you're thinking. You couldn't be buying presents and cards all year round, there's a cycle and a rhythm to the year and Christmas is part of that. I get that. I don't want mince pies 365 either. And yet, and yet, and yet... Ask yourself this question. "What if you took just a piece of that Christmas connection, and built it into your daily or weekly routine"? Why, you ask? Well, if you-know-what has taught us anything, it's that we probably didn't realise enough the importance of the people in our lives, and the benefit of good relationships and connections. I've missed not seeing as many people this year and I deeply value each and every interaction I have at present. Here's another reason. Maybe you are ok at present. Maybe you have the support of enough people and enough self-awareness and skills to manage. Not everyone is ok though. "I like the circle because no-one has to be lonely anymore". The words of an 11 year old, who clearly needed more connection (and that was before you-know-what). One final reason. With the best will in the world, general aspirations to do better will take us to the end of January if we're lucky. We need practices and habits to make things happen. So build in a Monday or a Friday check-in with your class or your team, sign up to a weekly podcast or blog, or treat yourself to a nice book or two and put them on the locker where you'll see them.
If it's good enough for Christmas, it's good enough for all year round. Happy Christmas everyone!
That's Restorative Practice
(with thanks to Eileen Havern)
My name is Joe Power and I am the RP development officer for Limerick. I also work for a restorative justice project. I thought I would write about my experiences in developing my own understanding of RP/RJ, as well as in trying to spread it across Limerick. The reason for this is that I find that both my own and other people's experiences are remarkably similar and there could well be some opportunity for others to benefit from these thoughts (or ramblings!!). Anyway I hope you gain something from it.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.