“He drew a circle that shut me out.
Heretic rebel, a thing to flout.
But love and I had the wit to win
We drew a circle that took him in.” —Edwin Markham
Circles are processes that originate in Native Peoples’ cultures. They are restorative processes that are inclusive, honest, and patiently wait for the wisdom of the the collective group to provide guidance, aide in decision-making, and promote peaceful dialogue. Circles are often used in schools, religious groups, in neighborhoods with high crime or low citizen involvement, in families, etc. This is a way for people to connect with each other one time, weekly, or perhaps monthly, depending on the reason the circle exists.
Janet has conducted peacekeeping training in a number of schools, including late elementary, junior high, and high school, where children and teens learn to listen to each other and in return expect to be heard. She has been involved in sentencing circles for juvenile offenders where the juvenile has elected to go through the circle process where the community comes together to ensure the victimized party is represented and to hold the person responsible for his/her actions while providing encouragement and support for the juvenile at this very difficult time. She has also been the circle-keeper for adult groups needing to improve their listening skills or wanting to learn more about being circle-keepers themselves.
Please call Janet if you would like to explore peacekeeping training for your neighborhood or organization. You might consider starting a circle in order to increase familiarity and communication or to work on a particular decision-making topic or difficulty. Ideas for places for circles: