I've probably already lost Manchester United fans by now, so I guess apologies are not necessary at this point. In case you haven't guessed it from the title (get it? title?), I am a Liverpool fan. But this blog is not a response to the fact that we've just won our first league in 30 years (notice the "we" there?). Ok, I'll admit there is a link, as well as a smile the width of the Mersey (ok, ok, no more gloating after this I promise). So if gloating is not the main inspiration, what is? One of the things that has really interested me in the last few days is the all-too-familiar responses on the radio or from people I meet, saying that they don't understand why some Irish people are so invested in an English club, more so even than their own local team or (sometimes) national team. Right now it's Liverpool. In other years it's Manchester United or Chelsea or Arsenal. It's not an entirely misunderstandable statement. I do get why people say it. You will hear different variations of the line too. "What's the fascination with these English teams?". "They never go to their local club games". And they are of course correct, we sometimes don't go. So, again, why is it that fans can be so passionate about a team in another country? Here's a slightly different question. Why is it more important than we realise that people actually do understand this? Because I believe we must begin to understand it. I don't mean of course that we have to understand it in this particular Liverpool context. It's just the latest example. Change the sport and it's a case of "they're all excited about an All-Ireland final but they've never been to a club game", or "what's golf but someone hitting a ball around a field?" Change away from sport altogether and it's "I just don't get opera/ballet/Tommy Tiernan. How could anyone like that stuff"? Change away from hobbies and it's "I could never be a doctor/soldier/ghost hunter"? (look it up, it actually exists). And what's all this got to do with Restorative Practice? That's eight questions already and no answers so far.
So why do moments like this excite people? Is it perhaps anything to do with:
If you noticed a trend towards emotions that's because, to me, that's what it's all about. You don't have to exactly understand people crying about 11 players, a ball and a silver cup. You just need to know it's about emotions, history and their history of their emotions. And that we are all the same in the end. It's the very same attachment someone has to their street or estate (even if the rest of the world can't see it), the very same attachment someone has to their family or friends (even if the rest of the world can't see it), perhaps even the very same attachment someone has to a harmful habit or coping method (even if the rest of the world can't see it). You don't need to understand it offhand. You just need a little curiosity, know there's emotions at large and the perseverance to discover the meaning for that person - even if it takes 30 years.
That's Restorative Practice
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.