These actions and behaviors below are what we love, as they support a welcoming environment of compassion, curiosity and mutual exploration. Others love them too. We welcome this!

“This is what I wonder, and I look forward to hearing how others think.”

“You can trust that I will not repeat the amazing things you just shared with us outside the circle.”

“I cannot know how you feel – I can only know how what you are saying makes me feel. When you say this, I feel…”

“That sounds like it was difficult for you to say. That took some courage. Thank you for honoring us by sharing it.”

These actions and interaction below are not so fabulous – because everyone may not experience these as welcoming. Think about it, and imagine if someone not like you would be comfortable with your doing these things. Probably a bad idea.

“It is an interesting thing you said about fish. See my blog post about socks.” (not about fish, at all).

There is a difference between supporting a conversation or idea directly with references that further illustrate and deepen this particular idea or conversation – and just using opportunities to talk about your website, product, business, book or blog in a way that is clearly self-promotion.

“Fish are bad, bad, horribly bad! Terrible fish!”

You can share a point of view. However, imagine how your choice of words impacts others we value who are wonderfully different than you. It does not further mutual learning or community to make broad proclamations about ideas, politics or politicians, points of view, faith, types of people, personal choices, ways of being… In fact, your saying these things without considering the impact of your words does not support or contribute to the richness of what we can learn through curiosity and diversity. Pushing others to change opinions or points of view is not respectful. Can you adjust what you write or say to share, but not push? Even better: Can you hold curiosity and accept others without trying to change them?

“As we all know…”

No, we do not all know something – and certainly not in the same way. That is the richness of diversity. Speak for yourself only, please.

“All ___(certain kind of person)___ are ______.”

No. Each person is unique. And you can only speak truth about yourself.

“I don’t know if this is what you mean about fish, but I am so passionate about socks !” (or)
“…but I invented a game / blog / book about socks. See [email protected]

There is a clue here that you may not have listened to what the fellow learner said. Either you truly do not know – in which case it works better to ask them to clarify and share more, so you do know, and so your next contribution to the conversation can be on-point. Or you are not listening anyway, thinking instead your own internal thoughts about what you are excited about or promoting. We love that you are passionate about how you feel and what you have created. Remember, however that you are in relationship to others, who came to this workshop / circle / conversation to learn together.

“Nothing about us without us, I say.” (or you share a photo you did not take, without naming the source).

Someone else originated that quote (or idea, theory, method, process concept, item), not you. For example the quote above is from James I. Charlton’s 1998 book, “Nothing About Us Without Us: Disability Oppression and Empowerment”. Someone else took that photo – and do you have permission to use it in that way? Honor – and mention – the source. Do not use someone else’s words or images without asking them and referencing them.

“Did you hear the joke about the… hahahahahaha!”

Humor is welcome. Is joyful. Humor about or at the expense of another person or kind of person is not welcome. And does not help in our learning and understanding of – or respect for – others who are not like us.

These actions and behaviors cross the line. They do not support, enhance or contribute in positive ways to community. Bad idea. Please do not do this. Stop.

“We ALL hate this fish / fish politician / fish faith / fish way of life. We must work together to eliminate it!”

No. We do not condone or support hate language or actions of violence or intent to cause harm. We are not all the same. In every circle there are seen and unseen differences. We do not condone or support proclamations about or against people.

“Fish are @$^$#%$#@&^!!” (or) “$%##$*%&*# your %$&#$#*-ing fish!”

No. This is not supportive or welcoming in a richly diverse community. We are rich with differences, stories and complexities. You cannot assume that others in the circle share your world views. And you can choose respectful words.

“That was an amazing thing she shared! I will blog what she said about her very very personal experience, without asking her,
because I think others will be informed / inspired / motivated by this!”

No. These are conversations shared in trust. You may not share what someone else has said, written or created – or reveal who they are – without asking their permission and receiving their agreement on exactly how you will use each of these things.

“That’s Suzie Fishstein! I have to tell my co-workers that she is ___!”

No. You do not have her permission to tell anyone else what she may have shared, in confidence – about her identity, challenges, life choices, relationships, conversations, issues, discoveries, opinions or anything else. These things are hers to share. Not yours. You must ask her – and be specific about – what you wish to share and how you wish to share it. And then you must honor how she responds.

Communities and learning groups thrive when they are welcoming, when people notice interconnection, when our differences fuel richer thinking, when we listen to learn rather than speak to convince, and when we understand ourselves in relationship to others.

This is what we value. In joining us, you agree to honor, stand for and embody these 7th Generation Labs values – in service to the world and to each other.