Reflection is an opportunity for group members to integrate their service experiences with their worldview and to listen to their experiences for direction, guidance, and meaning. In this reflective space, diverse experiences and beliefs will be brought to the conversation. To encourage an atmosphere of freedom, safety and respect, it is helpful for the group to agree on guiding principles by which they will relate to each other. This can be done by brainstorming and listing the guidelines that group members feel are important to them, and then calling for group agreement.
The following is an example of the principles that are typically important to group members in creating an atmosphere that they feel comfortable in. In some situations the group can save time by using this list as a starting point for agreement on guidelines.
- Participation: I will work to see that everyone has an opportunity to participate, while respecting everyone’s freedom to pass or to choose how much they share on a given topic
- I will listen actively to what others are sharing and allow space for silent reflection in our conversations.
- I will be open to elaborating on my ideas to the best of my ability
- Respect: I will be respectful of ideas and opinions that are different from my own, being open to learn from everyone.
- I will be open to the questions of others, acknowledging all questions as important.
- I will avoid attaching labels or judgments to other people in the group, valuing each person for who they are.
- Confidentiality: I will use my discernment in regards to what I share about group members outside of the reflection group time. I will keep confidential all that is requested to remain so.
- Punctuality: We will try to start and end on time.