One of the ways our enculturation into a “power over” culture shows up in our personal lives and public discussions is the confusion about relationships with children. Too often teachers, counselors, administrators, parents, grandparents, aunts/uncles, social workers, and everyone who spends time with children are faced with a false dichotomy – structure or connection. Sometimes this comes up in conversation as “people are too permissive with kids these days” and those working with children find themselves flip-flopping back and forth between an empathetic connection where they complain kids are “walking all over them” and a power-over relationships where they are grasping to maintain control but “the kids they work with won’t talk to them” or when they do they are “constantly lying” to them. But there is hope.
By applying the spirit of power with that NVC embodies we can create structure and stay in our integrity while growing trust and connection with children. It is not particularly difficult (no harder than the dangerous dance of “fighting” or “giving-in”) and incredibly rewarding. It has been shown in research that one honest empathetic connection for a child can be the inspiration to learn self-connection and have healthier relationships – and it doesn’t have to be someone who the child spends a lot of time with, or a parent (although that sure doesn’t hurt!) When we listen, care for a child’s needs, care for our own needs, model respect and self-respect, and set living boundaries we create an example and environment that can help steer a child toward a richer fuller experience of life. Let’s explore this together and be part of supporting a healthier happier world!
I have been practicing and sharing Nonviolent Communication (NVC) since 2003 as part of my passion for building stronger relationships, (focusing on, though not limited to, Couples and Parenting,) while developing more integrated and sustainable communities. Teaching NVC has been central to my life since 2010 and I have been working with the Kathleen Macferren, Karl Staeyert, and the rest of the core team on the Trainer Community Certification Path (TCCP). I completed my NVC Trainer Certification with CNVC in 2016.
As a Rose City NVC Teacher Training Program (TTP) participant, I have co-taught NVC classes with Fred Sly, and have facilitated Rose City NVC's Foundations and Integrations Classes and Tuesday night NVC Practice Group for the last 4 plus years. I have taught NVC at Oregon State Penitentiary, Columbia River Correctional Institution, the Reentry Transition Center in Portland, and currently teach at Coffee Creek Correctional Facility (for Women). Simultaneously, I have participated in the Trainer Community Certification Path (TCCP) intensives since 2011, and have co-taught NVC classes with LaShelle Lowe-Charde. I also currently offer Individual and Couples Coaching to my greater Portland community.
My personal NVC journey includes many other forms of spiritual work with an emphasis on meditative and body awareness practices. I integrate practices which allow me other avenues to touch the essence of our NVC work. While I believe the words and the form on NVC can help my participants touch into a place of greater compassion and understanding, I also believe that holding a space of compassion and understanding in myself creates ease in adopting the new words (silently and out loud) for my participants. My spiritual outlook related to NVC is to align my daily will in progress towards unconditional love, acceptance, non-judgement, and spaciousness. My vision for an NVC world is that one day most adults will hold this type of unconditional and loving space most of the time supporting each other in the hard times and the development of those still growing so we can be present to more of each moment on this earth.