Acorn Communications Covenant
This covenant encourages each member to commit to positive communication, conflict resolution and being willing to say hard stuff in order to resolve problems and live better with each other.
The Communications Covenant will be part of the visitor orientation and prospective members will be asked about their participation in it at their membership clearness and to address any problems and concerns they have communicating with individuals and with the community's larger communication culture.
It is intended to improve communication at Acorn as a whole and is not intended to single out individuals for criticism, censure or expulsion.
Preamble (From our visitor packet)
We are committed to creating a diverse, supportive, safe, and open environment at Acorn. A commitment to communication and conflict resolution is necessary. We live closely together and many people come through our community. This helps us create an enriching, exciting lifestyle but can also result in friction and conflict. We strive to turn these difficult challenges into positive outcomes. At the same time it is important to be knowledgeable and reflective about your boundaries and to seek support when you need it. If you have a problem, please bring it up at a meeting or talk with other members.
We commit to speaking to others respectfully both in meetings and outside of them.
We commit to giving and receiving constructive criticism that affects the well-being of the community and its members.
We commit when something isn't going well for us to ask for help or try to talk about our experience and needs rather than the wrongness or rightness of someone else or their actions.
We commit to talking to people directly in order to limit gossip, which often has the potential to create conflict.
We commit to actively address conflict and resolve issues through discussion, mediation, intervention if necessary, and creative problem-solving.
We commit that if our needs are not being met to come to the group and discuss it at a meeting or ask for support from an advocate or support group who will help us address our needs with the entire group.
We commit to seeing communication as cultural context created by the whole community and to see how we all can impact the failure or success of communication in the community and among individuals.
We commit to respect the privacy of individuals in the community and will not require members to divulge information or opinions except in cases of obvious and certain harm (like assault, abusive relationships, or actions that threaten the survival of the community).
We commit to hear reflections that our attempts to communicate are perceived as one-sided, manipulative or hurtful and to “back off” when another requests space.
We commit to create and interpret our community agreements with the caveat, “or come to the group and talk about it.”