Making Hope More Tangible |TODAY|
Submitted by dan. on 2007-08-10 23:20.
For years we've been talking about punishment and retribution. Maybe it's time we started talking about repair. Repair of broken relations. Between and among people. Between and among neighborhoods, faiths, races, religions, countries. Maybe it's time we started asking: "How can we repair what's broken? What skills do we need? If a person is good at repair, what is he or she good at?"
It's a time for asking. As you read the experts below, who speak from a variety of perspectives, from personal to international, from marriage to war - I hope you see analogies, parallels, applications to this place, this situation, this summer.
Personal. John Gottman.... has a name for those who are good at repair: "masters of relationships." Masters of relationships are attentive to the depth and quality of the friendship and work hard to keep it in good repair. They have a talent almost everyone interviewed for this piece named independently: empathetic listening....
Neighborhoods. I asked Sister Mary Scullion... to describe those who help heal breaches between neighborhoods. What do they do well? She said good "repairers" acknowledge, first, that something's broken. But then they do something interesting: "They make hope more tangible," aiming for concrete actions and results....
A different kind of justice? Howard Zehr....worries that such justice is at best incomplete. Punishment happens, fines are paid - but brokenness remains. At worst, criminal justice may be contributing to the cycle of shame and violence in our culture. He's not arguing that we do away with standard models of justice - just that we complement them with the restorative kind.
International. Erin Daly....says, "it is the 'reconcilees' who must do the work; the negotiator or facilitator helps . . . but cannot do it for them. A reconciliation program imposed from outside that does not have the support of those most involved is unlikely to succeed." The will to negotiate, to reconcile, has to be there.
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