Professor and author Howard Zehr, commonly referred to as the grandfather of the modern restorative justice movement, has written a list of ten ways to live restoratively in his November 27, 2009 blog: http://emu.edu/blog/restorative-justice/2009/11/27/10-ways-to-live-restoratively/
Professor Zehr’s landmark book Changing Lenses is one of the first books I read about restorative justice about 15 years ago. Since then I have referred it to anyone wanting to learn about restorative justice. I have also used it as a text book for administration of justice college courses, and students always comment on how much they like it.
Dr. Zehr’s blog list of how we can live more restoratively is exhaustive, and if we all only applied one or two of his suggestions, our world would be a happier and safer place.
For example, simply applying suggestion number six to “View the conflicts and harms in your life as opportunities” would help us appreciate getting what we don’t want and not getting what we do want. Conflicts between individuals and countries often are generated by the inevitable fact of life that we will not always get what they want. Instead of appreciating the wisdom that our conflicts and harms can teach us, we often explode like small children, screaming and kicking and trying to hurt others back as much as they have hurt us.
Allowing our destructive emotions to control our behavior, we create more serious conflicts and harms for others and ourselves. Understanding our emotions, and feeling pain and sorrow, without reacting negatively when we have them, is part of social learning, something that we can all benefit from no matter what our experiences in life. Wisdom is made up of the collection of events we have experienced in life, both the painful and joyful ones.
Thank you Dr. Zehr for all your work in promoting a restorative world and preparing this list.