SC Four Pillars

It is helpful for the group facilitator to talk with the group at the beginning of each meeting, to set guidelines for discussion and group work. You or your organization/community may have your own set of values,beliefs, or guidelines that you share with the group each week, but if not we recommend that you use The Four Pillars of the Students Commission to help facilitate the weekly meetings. Click here for a poster you can print out and hang on the wall where you are meeting. Use the text below to guide you as you review each week with the group what The Four Pillars are.

Respect, Listen, Understand, Communicate

The Students Commission of Canada begins with respect. First, respect for young people, their idealism, their hope and their capacity to improve the world. Second, respect for the gift that each person carries within. We believe that by creating conditions of respect, we enhance the capacity of people to work together and improve their lives and the lives of others. Respect means respect for diversity and an effort to strive for diversity of people and experiences and expertise in all of what we do. Respect means actively seeking and valuing the gifts and experiences of all those with whom we work and live. Respect means reciprocity - that each person is an equal partner in our work. Respect means youth and adults working collaboratively as equals. Respect means that we have "commissioned" youth to carry out their hopes and dreams for a better world, and that as an organization we will facilitate, support and assist them to our best capacity.

With respect as our foundation, we learn to listen. We listen not just with our ears, but with our heads, hearts and all our senses. We listen actively, intensely, not just to words, but to silences, to deeds, to experiences. We listen to the spoken word, the written word, the image. We listen to learn, to gather information, to enhance our capacity to give and to receive. We listen to youth as experts, and we gather other information, other voices to ensure diversity. We listen because we are curious, because as people and as an organization we are constantly growing and changing through the input of others. We listen to truly understand who others are.

From listening comes understanding. To understand is to go beyond listening, to process what we have heard, to reflect upon the new knowledge and gifts given to us. Understanding creates new knowledge, new skills. If we truly understand who others are, and who we are, we can work together as equals, valuing differences and building upon similarities and common goals. We understand the problems each of us faces, and the aspirations each of us has. Understanding creates the conditions for working effectively together.

If people really understand each other, then they can communicate - our fourth pillar. When people truly communicate, the obstacles fall away. Communication is the first action and creates the process for developing and taking all the actions we need to take, as individuals and as an organization to achieve our goals and dreams. With communication, we create action plans and implement them with practical projects that make a positive difference. With communication, we continue to reaffirm the respect and trust we have for each other and create the relationships with others who can help us achieve our goals.

Our belief is that this process and these four pillars - Respect, Listen, Understand, Communicate - create the foundation for taking action to improve lives and society. This process and these values help change lives, our country and the world for the better and create what so many participants have called the magic of The Students Commission.

Welcome to the magic.

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The Students Commission