Sunday, December 6th, 2009
I rely heavily on the 22 NAIS/PoCC Community Norms when I conduct workshops and facilitate tricky conversations. At LREI, I have asked parents, faculty, admin, and students to “say ouch,” when hurtful language is used, to lean into discomfort when they are feeling challenged, and to be crisp, a norm I try hard to practice (really I do).
With approval from Gene Batiste I adapted the adult language of the norms for my work with Second through Sixth Graders. Beginning Second Grade with the norms allows the teachers and I to fall back on them as the students get older and the potential for mistakes or hurtful incidences increases. Recently, when a Third Grader made a statement that was misunderstood by his peers, a student immediately said “ouch” and another came to get me in my office to help them make sense of what happened. Reminding them to say I saw or I heard statements (Speak from the “I” perspective) and to Be Here (Be fully present) we were able to get to the bottom of the situation.
The norm I am highlighting for myself this early morning is Don’t give up on the institution or each other. I will admit that at the end on our first affinity group I was not sure I understood the direction our facilitators were headed. For a split second I thought of skipping the second session for a nap, but knew that my need to escape had to be a call for me to lean into my discomfort. Half way through the second session I climbed a steady ascent to the summit of my Latina identity and was grateful to my Latina/o facilitators for carrying me through this part of the journey.
During the PoCC Reception I spoke to a White man who echoed my exact feelings about his two sessions with his White peers. Affinity work is essential to our experiences at PoCC so please don’t give up on the institution or each other. Lean into your discomfort (save the nap for later) and “Go tell it on the Mountain.”
Thank you to the over 1500 adults and 1000 students who remained challenged while in Denver.
Thank you to my Latina/o Affinity Group facilitators and to Caroline Blackwell, the co-facilitator of the workshop we conducted on Thursday morning.
Thank you LREI.