Listening Circles

When upsetting events happen in the world, they arouse strong feelings in many of us—sadness, anger, fear, confusion, worry. We tend to carry these feelings around with us through the day, at work or at school.

Young people of all ages, as well as adults, may find a "listening circle" helpful. Listening circles give people a chance to say what they are thinking and feeling and can help engender mutual understanding and support among people in stressful times.
 
The format is simple. Position students in a circle. Each person in the circle has one to five minutes to say whatever is on their minds about events of the day. When one person is speaking, the others in the group pay good attention but don't comment. The circle is over after every person has had a chance to speak. Participation should be completely voluntary, and what people say in the circle should be kept confidential.
 
In especially difficult times, consider organizing a brief listening circle every day or every week—for young people or adults.