"Special Time" and the "Blue Pages"*

In a "Special Time" Class that I am leading, I have asked non-parent members of the class to set up their special time sessions with young people who are not connected with RC, either themselves or through their parents. I believe there are significant benefits to the non-parents in building their relationships with young people from their wide-world community. I also have some inkling that we are flirting with the "Blue Pages" (the RC no-socializing policy) when Co-Counselors set up special time relationships with other Co-Counselors' children. Of course some people have had questions about this requirement. I recently wrote a letter to one person in the class to help clarify my thinking and realized that these thoughts might be helpful to others, so here it is . . . .

The question is: "Does it make sense for a Co-Counselor to set up a special time relationship with a young person whose parent is a Co-Counselor?" The answer is: It depends. You are going to have to think about it and probably have a few sessions on it. Here are my thoughts:


I think it is always helpful to step back and get a bigger picture when trying to understand something, so let's start with what we know from RC theory and practice:

  • The no-socializing requirement is necessary for the safety, stability, and growth of the RC Community. Most people do not fully understand this policy or its implications. People need a hand discharging on it.


  • The Co-Counseling Community needs people of all ages. Each age brings its own unique and valuable perspectives and strengths.


  • Current society does not provide anywhere near enough resource to families.


  • Most non-parents are separated from families and allowed little access to young people by the oppressive society.


  • People need close, dynamic relationships with people of all ages. The existence of and participation in an RC Community are of major assistance to people of all ages in their re-emergence and liberation.


  • Many situations that we face in our lives will go better if we can get some Co-Counseling skill and knowledge into the situation. This is true for our workplaces and community organizations and for our friendships and families.


How many of us have wished that the RC Community would take on our parents, our spouse, our friends . . . our children? This wish is based on our feelings of powerlessness and despair. The truth is that as incompetent and inadequate as we are to face the challenges that reality places before us, fortunately or unfortunately, we are the best person for the job! The job of seeing that our friends and family members learn the power of taking turns listening to one another and committing themselves to one another's re-emergence is our own.

The RC Community cannot make up for what society does not provide to families. By teaching Co-Counseling skills and theory to young people, parents, and non-parents who want to be allies to families, we can help them build a re-emergent network of folks around themselves. This is a major step in the ending of the oppression of all three groups.

What can RC parents expect from the RC Community?

  • We can expect good counseling to the degree that we are able to help build the Co-Counseling Community around us.


  • We can expect parents' support groups, playdays, and family workshops to the extent that we see that they happen and depending upon the overall strength of the RC Community that we are helping to build.


  • We can expect good theory, policy, and ideas for the practice of RC with young people and families. The journals are packed with these!


How can we parents help our children benefit from RC? We can:

  • Accept the fact that we are our children's chief allies and that our re-emergence will have more of an effect on our children's future than anything anyone else is apt to do for them.


  • Promise to remember always that we are good parents, that we have always done the very best that we could, that we have passed onto our children as few of the hurts that we received as children as we could possibly manage, and that some day we will get a little rest.


  • Co-Counsel regularly!!


  • Do special time with our children. We can counsel about it and form special time support groups to keep discharging, thinking, and growing instead of gritting our teeth or falling asleep.


  • Make lots of friends of all ages.


  • Build an RC Community of our friends, family, and neighbors around us.


  • Widen our RC worldñjoin a support group, start a support group, teach RC, go to workshops, support the leadership of other RCers.


  • Join or start a parents' or allies-to-young-people support group.


  • Invite non-parents into our lives. We can be prepared to counsel them on their oppression and its effect on their ability to build close relationships with people in families.


  • Commit ourselves to the liberation of all young people, all parents, all adults, and consistently take action in that direction.


  • Help our Communities grow large and strong enough that we can have playdays, family classes and workshops, and young people's classes.

Yes, parenting in an oppressive society can be overwhelming, and thinking about adding one more thing to the list of "to-dos" is hard, but any step we take to end our own oppression and that of our children drives an opening wedge against the despair and gives us greater hope and energy. We can and must lead in ending the oppression of all parents and all children. Ending our isolation as allies to young people is key! Each "little" step is a major victory!


What about RCers doing special time with children of other RCers? This is an area where we often have a hard time thinking about the Blue Pages, but they are very important here, as they are elsewhere in RC. Each situation is different and needs to be thought about freshly. Discharge always helps the thought process, so we need to get sessions! It may be helpful to check our judgment about possible no-socializing policy issues with the RC leader in our Community who is most rigorous on this. Here are my thoughts on three possible scenarios.

  1. You meet a young person in RC and you want a special time relationship with him or her.
    • First have a session about it.


    • Is your interest in him/her? Wanting someone to do special time with, pleasing or helping the parent, and "helping" the young person are not rational motivations and actually put you over the edge of the no-socializing requirement. Use the same process we do when deciding whether to set up a Co-Counseling relationship with anyone else. What kind of a commitment do you want to make?


    • Keep the "needs" and wants of the parents out of your initial decision-making process.


    • If you think a special time relationship with this young person makes sense, talk with the person and his/her parents. If all are in agreement, set it up.


    • Then continue to have sessions on what comes up for you in your relationship with the young person and his or her parents.


    • If the young person or parents don't want you to have this special time relationship, listen to their reasons. Get the sessions you need to be able to think clearly enough to reach the reluctant person(s). You can have a relationship with anyone you choose to, but sometimes it takes a fair amount of work and doesn't look the way you thought it would. Often relationships that don't come easy turn out to be some of the best for our re-emergence, so hang in there and do the work if you want this relationship.



  2. A young person in RC approaches you with a request to do special time.
    • The process is much the same as in the first scenario.


    • Counsel on it. Young people will point you the way to many a good session on being wanted.


    • Think about what you want. Don't be pulled into setting up a relationship because you feel honored or obligated. This is an opportunity that you can choose or not.


    • Communicate clearly with the young person and with the parents.


    • Be prepared to offer sessions to both if they don't like your response.



  3. An RC parent asks you to do special time with her/his child.
    • Who wouldn't want you to spend special time with their child?!


    • It is probably a violation of the no-socializing requirement for you to do this. It is not any different from being asked to take on a Co-Counselor's aunt, neighbor, co-worker, or boss.


    • Be smart about parents' oppression. Parents often feel desperate and may be angry at you or the RC Community for not "doing more." Don't become confused. The real source of the problem is oppression. The real solution is working for liberation. As an ally to parents and young people, step back and take your own independent look at the oppressions and work strategically to end them. In order to get in close with families, you will need to gain perspective and skill at counseling parents on our desperation and isolation.


    • You get to have relationships with young people because you need and want them. The separation of non-parents from young people and families is as hurtful to non-parents as it is to parents and young people. Form relationships with young people based on your rational need for them, not on "helping" parents or young people.


    • Non-parents need to counsel on and unite around supporting one another and family members in tearing down the walls between them. Non-parents also need to discharge on their own isolation and any feelings that make them less than completely delighted about being close to families.


    • For the growth of the RC Community and to really challenge the oppression of non-parents, in general set up your special time relationships with non-RCers. Learn how to do it in your world.


Does that mean that RCers should never do special time with RC young people?

No, you get to build your own independent RC relationships with the young people you meet in RC just like you do with anyone else. It can be pivotal in the re-emergence of any adult to have a Co-Counseling relationship with a young person. Most young people who successfully make the transition from family work to using RC for themselves have at least one adult RCer other than their family members who has taken a strong interest in them. However, it must be an independent relationship. Parents can be helpful, but they cannot be the reason for or the force behind the relationship.


What are the advantages of setting up a special time relationship with a young person who is not connected with RC?

  • You will have no illusions that someone else is seeing to the re-emergence of this young person or his/her family. It is your job.


  • You will have no illusions that the parent is a certain kind of parent "because he or she knows RC."


  • You will have to help the parents understand what you are doing. You want to build your own RC Community? Start right here.


  • When you make mistakes (and you will), you will have no illusions about who will get and give the sessions needed to clean them up. This is the fast track to re-emergence!


  • You will get good at being an ally to all members of a family. It won't work otherwise.


  • You will have to discharge a lot to make it work, therefore you will re-emerge more quickly.


  • You will learn how to naturalize RC.


  • You will have to discharge whatever gets in your way of setting up relationships with young people. There are billions of young people in the world. You can have relationships with lots of them. Go for it!

Jerry Yoder
Yarmouth, Maine, USA

* In the early Fundamentals of Co-Counseling Manual, the no-socializing policy was printed on blue paper an is still often referred to as the "Blue Pages." This policy states that people should refrain from setting up relationships other than Co-Counseling (such as social, business, or romantic relationships) with people whom they meet for the first time at a Co-Counseling class or workshop, or other RC event. It helps to preserve the safety of the Co-Counseling relationship and encourages people to make friends in the wider world rather than "huddling" with other Co-Counselors.


Last modified: 2022-12-25 10:17:04+00