There is an ongoing dilemma one faces in writing a blog about Restorative Practices, or anything else for that matter I suspect. Too much "theory" and you run the risk of it being slightly like work and alienating people. Too much "away from theory" and then it just becomes too generic, and something other than what you intended to write about. In times of uncertainty as to what to write, I tend to go by a simple rule - get a funny video from YouTube. It's gotten me out of a bind more than once and videos also tend to make points that stick in the brain long after 800 words. This week's offering is something called First Follower: Leadership Lessons from Dancing Guy. To be honest you're going to want to click on the video link and watch it at this point if you haven't already:
So what's that got to do with Restorative Practices? The answer is everything. RP isn't a prescription for life. It won't tell you what to do in every situation. Don't say this part too loud, but it doesn't have all the answers (there, I said it). What it does, however, is give the proverbial scaffold or framework to your approach as you face the world each day. To fill that framework in though we need other stuff, like Dancing Guy for example. There's always a dancing guy and a first follower when RP (or anything else) is introduced to a school, youth club or any organisation. It's not even about labelling the people. Is the innovative teacher/youth worker who comes across RP "dancing guy", or is it the RP trainer who comes in to do the workshop or circletime? It doesn't matter. What matters, as you saw in the video, is that they treat each other as equals, nurture and support each other and invite others to the party. As I write this I can easily think of settings I've been in where something like this has happened well and entire teams have gotten on board and others where, perhaps, I've not nurtured that first follower and things stalled.
Perhaps the most positive thing from the video for me is this though. Not everyone needs to be the leader. As the narrator says that would actually be really ineffective. It's just as, if not more, important for the first followers to join in and recruit others. This is such a potentially inspirational message for everyone. It gives equal credit to the charasmatic leader, and the introvert follower (or even the introvert leader and charasmatic follower if you like). The others will follow as we saw. So next time you see a student, team member or manager out there doing there thing, whatever that may be, put on your dancing shoes and be the first follower.
That's Restorative Practice
My name is Joe Power and I am the RP development officer for Limerick. I thought I would write about my experiences in developing my own understanding of RP, 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.