A Thinking About Goal 2

At the 2001 World Conference, the Re-evaluation Counseling Communities adopted a goal (Goal 2) of making RC and the RC Communities accessible to young people. The goal was reaffirmed by the 2005 and 2009 World Conferences. Specifically, the goal is “that the Re-evaluation Counseling Community put new and increased efforts into making Re-evaluation Counseling and the Re-evaluation Counseling Communities accessible to young people.”

In the eight years since the goal was created, we have made a lot of progress. More Communities have started the work that is necessary for them to think well about young people in their Communities. There are more family classes and young people’s classes than ever before. It is clear to me, from the thoughtful and committed young people and their allies I have met, that progress is being made.

Each Community is different and will face different challenges, but there are a number of things that will be useful for all Communities to work on and think about when trying to make RC more accessible to young people. Four of these are (1) adults working on the oppression of young people and what happened to them as young people; (2) putting young people at the center and thoughtfully supporting young people’s leadership; (3) building family work1 and young people’s classes and recognizing the importance of young people’s work in moving the Community forward; (4) talking about and using the words “young people’s oppression” and “young people’s liberation.”

ADULTS WORKING ON YOUNG PEOPLE'S OPPRESSION AND WHAT HAPPENED TO THEM AS YOUNG PEOPLE

Young people’s oppression happens when adults cannot remember that young people are fully human and that their ideas, aspirations, and thinking are valuable. At one time all of us were young. All of us have experienced young people’s oppression. It is important that we work on what our lives were like when we were young. Our own oppressor attitudes are a reflection of the hurts we acquired as young people. These hurts confuse us and make us not have attention to think about young people. Young people’s oppression is so ingrained in society that we often do not even notice it. One useful way to work is to notice where young people’s oppression exists in our lives. Working on young people’s oppression and building relationships with young people are two of the most effective ways to work on how we were hurt when we were young and to recover our full thinking.

PUTTING YOUNG PEOPLE AT THE CENTER AND THOUGHTFULLY SUPPORTING YOUNG PEOPLE'S LEADERSHIP

As we get better at bringing young people into RC Communities, it continues to be important to make young people central in those Communities. This often starts with allies helping young people set up Co-Counseling sessions and join a class. Supporting the leadership of young people means supporting them to take small and manageable steps toward leadership. When young people are active in the Community, it pushes all RCers to work on the ways they were hurt as young ones. Each Community needs to build a team of committed young people and allies who can support and think about young people’s leadership. The leadership of young people goes well when it is not a side project of one or two committed individuals but there is support from the local RC Community.

BUILDING FAMILY WORK AND YOUNG PEOPLE'S CLASSES; RECOGNIZING HOW IMPORTANT YOUNG PEOPLE'S WORK IS IN MOVING A COMMUNITY FORWARD

Some young people are introduced to Co-Counseling through family work. Family work is an important part of making RC accessible to young people. Young people’s classes and workshops are for young people (experienced in family work or new to RC) who are interested in learning two-way counseling (Co-Counseling); they work best when they are supported by strong adult allies who are committed to young people’s liberation.

Young people have important roles to play in all RC Communities. Young people have had fewer years of accumulating hurts than adults. This means that they can remember some things that many adults have forgotten, for example, the importance of play and closeness. In addition, the presence of young people forces everyone to work on his or her own internalized young people’s oppression, which moves the whole Community forward. Building family work and young people’s work puts an RC Community on a fast-track to re-emergence.

TALKING ABOUT AND USING THE WORDS "YOUNG PEOPLE'S OPPRESSION" AND "YOUNG PEOPLE'S LIBERATION"

Often when we are talking about or leading young people’s work, we do not say the words “young people’s oppression” and “young people’s liberation.” Young people’s oppression is so much a part of our daily lives that we often assume there is no alternative. For example, oppressive practices in schools are generally seen as rational, and necessary to prepare young people to become responsible adults. Because young people’s oppression is often hidden, young people can feel like things are hard and like adults treat them poorly because they (the young people) are bad or have personal failings. Hearing adults talk about young people’s oppression can help young people understand why they are not being thought about well. Naming it and talking about it can help everyone to recognize it as oppression and are an important contradiction.2 When we young people talk and think about young people’s oppression, it helps us claim our liberation movement. When we talk about young people’s liberation, we acknowledge that we are working together in an ongoing movement to end young people’s oppression. Young people’s liberation is an essential part of all liberation movements.

Emily Bloch
International Liberation Reference Person for Young People
Brookline, Massachusetts, USA


1 Family work consists of RC gatherings of young people and adult allies, including parents, in which the focus is on young people and counseling young people in the context of play. These gatherings are designed to empower young people, to give them a setting in which they largely determine what happens (in contrast to the usual adult-young person dynamic). The focus is not on “Co-Counseling,” as it is in the usual adult RC. This model of family work is the result of experiences gathered over the past thirty years.
2 Contradiction to distress


Last modified: 2019-05-02 14:41:35+00