Re-dignifying Practices: Creating a podium for human dignity
If we would like to create a podium for human dignity in every conversation we facilitate, the re-dignifying practices stand central as ways to be and work with people that ignite the beauty and dignity of their lives (Tom Carlson 2017). These practices understand the societal discourses that play out in our human relatedness with one another and are therefore not mere rules or methods for better communication, they do and are much more.
These practices bring the gift of respect which comes from the Latin word “respecere”. “Specere” means to see and is the word that “spectacles” come from. “Re” means that we are challenged to look again, the word respect therefore challenges us to see again and look again beyond the labels and judgements we so easily fall into.
The re-dignifying practices provide the environment for conversations where we talk about things that really matter without thinking that we know what people mean. We create spaces where we welcome all the voices and respect the diversity of meaning and ways of seeing the world as gifts that can assist us to move forward together.
The giving and receiving of gifts
The giving and receiving of gifts, is a very important re-dignifying practice because it enables connectedness where we are seen and see others. This practice also creates the possibility to experience our connectedness with one another in the web of stories.
As we listen to the storyteller or organisation/community, we are touched, moved or struck by what we hear. We therefore share the offerings of our moved hearts with one another.
- What were the gifts you received form each person in the group?
- What were the gifts you received from the conversation?
These gifts (Peter Block 2008) are contextual, specific, timely and created in the conversation; they can never be reproduced in the same way. As they are given, I believe these gifts are folded into the rich fabric of our ‘human becoming’ (Winslade 2009).
- We share gifts by saying: “The gift I received from you in this conversation is …”
When we receive a gift, we are invited to accept the gift with a “thank you” and not to diminish the gift by saying things like: “I was born like this”, “It is nothing special”, or “There are other people who are better at this than I am”.
When human beings share gifts with one another, they open richer descriptions of one another’s identities that also help participants to understand which gifts they are already bringing to their communities or the organisation and which gifts they want to bring even more fully.
Human dignity is invited through re-dignifying practices, the creation of human connection and the sharing of gifts. These re-authoring practices bring human aliveness that invites participants to see themselves and one another anew, and as we do, transformation of our relatedness becomes possible. As we welcome all the voices and respect the diversity of meaning and ways of seeing the world as gifts, it can assist us to move forward together in a transformed relationship to all the things in the world.