A friend of mine recently told me that she thought the luckiest people are those who have someone in their lives that do not judge them when they are struggling with difficult situations, but rather, can say “I’ve been in this kind of situation too”. When someone says “me too”, it somehow seems to lighten our load, as we share our burdens with another.
It struck me that this is what Restitution does for our children.
That doesn’t mean that we are telling kids that the decisions that they make are the best ones. I can tell a child that I understand the desire to hit a person without reinforcing that I think hitting is the right course of action.
But instead of judging and saying “you were wrong”, Restitution allows us to say “I get it”. It allows us to walk side by side with a child instead of going toe to toe with them. Often, we create a divide with a child by pointing out the error they have made, which generally they are already quite aware of. Most kids are quite aware that hitting is not the best choice, but in the moment, were unable to come up with a better option.
For many of us, that soft place to land, that place where people gather us up, comfort us, and say “I get it” is with our family. We may get in trouble at school, but at the end of the day, mom and dad will still love me, and still be there for me. They might give me consequences, or be disappointed in me, but I know they are ultimately still there for me.
But what about the children who don’t have that experience at home? What if the only conversation that happens for them is the one that occurs at school?
Every kid deserves to have someone in their life that can say that they understand and will never give up on them.
Are you that person?