It seems like this website has been a long time in coming. Yet suddenly here it is and those of us involved in implementing restorative justice in educational contexts (especially here in Newfoundland and Labrador) are both thankful and excited.

Thanksgiving happens this weekend–an appropriate time to announce the launch of this website to you. The seeds for what you see here were planted several years ago, and while small harvests happened along the way, at this point in time, it truly does feel like we are harvesting a crop of substance. The ideas grounding Relationships First: Restorative Justice Consortium in Education-NL are becoming reality as we share and embody the distinctive view of honouring all people as worthy and interconnected in professional development workshops and courses now available and as well as services for serious harm in situations involving children and youth in educational settings.

As crops and gardens are harvested, as we sit down to special meals, or go out on a long walk under an autumn sky, we celebrate the wonder of this world including relationships. But just as here in NL we know that there has been significant cold and rainy weather that inhibited the possibility of an abundant harvest, so too we realize that the relationships we celebrate have often gone through significant turmoil, and that it is the norm that many of us continue to be embroiled in relationships that repeatedly cause harm.

If we are blessed to feel like we have escaped the trauma of broken relationships, it is then time to recognize Canada and the world’s current state of affairs where it is obvious many find it permissible to value some people’s lives over others, where we are encouraged to live in fear of our neighbours, or where we engage in gluttony and excess at the expense of others.

Welcome to this blog, this website, and a growing project in NL where we seek to learn what it really means to put relationships first in how we engage with others and our environment.

Thanksgiving—is really all about relationship!

If you discover that somebody really loves you,

listens to you,

then you begin

to change.

You come out from behind the barriers of fear

that you have erected

around your heart.

Jean Vanier (Encountering the Other, p. 38)