Embracing the Essence of Gentle Teaching: A Personal Journey of Transformation

In my 3 and a half years of immersion in COR and the philosophy of Gentle Teaching, I’ve encountered a profound journey that has enriched my understanding and left an indelible mark on my life. Initially, like many, I approached the concept of unconditional love with skepticism, interpreting it as ‘give them whatever they want’ or ‘allow them to act without consequences.’ Little did I realize that Gentle Teaching transcended these notions; it wasn’t about changing the individual’s behavior but about transforming our approach to serving them.

My proficiency in Gentle Teaching faced its ultimate test when I started supporting a new home, particularly one specific individual within that setting. I admit, I was apprehensive at the beginning, having heard tales of this being the most challenging team to support. Surprisingly, that wasn’t my experience! I connected well with two individuals, but one eluded my attempts at forming a bond. Each interaction with him resulted in him shutting me out completely, a personal challenge for someone who values getting along with everyone.

My breaking point occurred during a well-intentioned day when I decided to push the boundaries, attempting to force a connection. I planned an outing to a Rider practice, thinking it would be a fantastic experience. However, the day took a turn for the worse; he didn’t feel safe around me, and the culmination was an unfortunate incident at the Rider practice where he lashed out physically. It was then that I realized I had violated one of the fundamental pillars of Gentle Teaching—creating a sense of safety.

To rectify this, a shift in my approach was imperative. I needed to alter my caregiving methods and embrace the tools of Gentle Teaching to fortify the four pillars. Over the next few months, I refrained from imposing myself and instead focused on observation, choosing moments carefully to strengthen his sense of safety. Interactions revolved around shared activities like watching sports games or grabbing a drink from 7/11. Keeping these encounters short and consistent allowed him to gradually become comfortable in my presence. As he began to feel safe, the other pillars—feeling loved, feeling loving towards others, and feeling engaged—naturally fell into place.

My journey with these incredible individuals has left an enduring impact on my life. They taught me that by adjusting my approach to care and offering unconditional love, rather than compelling them to be someone they are not, they reciprocate in their unique ways.


COR Family Member