Sometimes anger, hurt, jealousy or insecurity comes out in destructive ways. Your neighbor, who built that beautiful house in Minecraft, enrages you and you find yourself torching the house when the owner is away. Or maybe someone is mean…, rejecting you. You are so deeply hurt that you lash out later in an act of revenge. Even grownups struggle with these strong emotions sometimes. Later you may feel sorry, but is that enough? Regret is a very important first step, but it is not enough. Restorative Justice requires listening to the one who you have wronged, REALLY listening. This process of deep listening always turns regret into remorse, remorse becomes the desire to “make it right.” In this process of accountability everyone wins. Punishment is no longer a part of the equation, instead the entire community rallies to restore that which has been ruined or lost. A whole gaggle of children work to build a mansion that replaces the destroyed house, enthusiastically supporting the efforts at healing.
If you as a parent or teacher are looking for ways to build that sense of conscience, or move away from the ineffective punishment model, this article is a good place to start. Restorative Justice, a Different Approach to Discipline