The talking circle is something very old in Native cultures but is making a big come back in today's modern society.
The purpose of the talking circle is to create a safe environment in which everyone can share their thoughts and or feelings with others. In a talking circle, everyone is equal and what you have to share is important. The talking circle teaches us to listen respectfully to the views of others.
The intention is to through open dialog and create an opportunity for compromise and resolution, or at least a path headed in that direction.
Participants sit in a circle which represents equality, no one in front no one behind.
Traditionally we would use an “Eagle feather” or a “talking stick” to represent who had the floor and as long as they held it, no one else speaks. You can get as elaborate as you like with your choice of stick or can be as simple as a pencil, what’s important is that everyone respects what it represents.
The circle is started with one person speaking and the “Talking stick or” being passed to their left clock wise.
I used to use this with my foster children as a way of communicating their feelings without fear of repercussion. Sometimes their expectations were not reasonable but at least at the end they felt listened to.
I’m sharing this with you in hopes that as parent’s it will create an opportunity let your children speak their minds and feel respected, that what they have to say is important and will create better understanding and better relationships where they feel like they can talk to you about anything.
We do these in our ceremonies and in those there isn’t an agenda, everyone just speaks from the heart to whatever they may be feeling, thinking as a way of releasing.
This can be used in many forms as way of conflict resolution, support or in any meeting where not everyone is talking at once.
Important note, let it be known in the beginning that it’s ok to say “I pass”. No one should feel pressured to speak.