When I first started crafting this experiment, I wanted to come up with a set of ground rules that embodied the spirit of this work. Having done this kind of work for a decade, I had lots and lots of potential ground rules to draw from. However, the three I chose were quite different from ones I’ve used in the past.
1. Be nice to yourself. Many changemakers I know tend to want to take care of others before they take care of themselves. In fact, many seem to feel guilty about taking care of themselves. As counter-intuitive as it may seem, changemaking needs to start with self-compassion. I wanted to establish that from the very beginning, and I’m glad that I did. Anna and Marie joked that I cited this rule so often, it should go on a T-shirt. Great idea!
2. Be nice to others. Self-explanatory, but good to make explicit.
3. Don’t be nice. I went to see the YouthSpeaks finals a few years ago, and I noticed that the participants would shout this in support of their peers on stage. I loved it! Making change isn’t about being nice. Neither is learning. It’s about being real. I realize that this rule seems to conflict with ground rules 1 and 2, but one of the key literacies in today’s world is effectively balancing tensions, so I felt perfectly comfortable with this.
What do you think about these ground rules? Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments section below!