by Mary Shafer
It’s hard to believe we’ve been at this for three years already, but timelines don’t lie. Our first blog post was published in early August, 2016. That was during the lead-up to a United States presidential election that would turn American politics on its head, amidst some of the most dysfunctional and destructive public discourse ever seen.
In The Beginning…
Building A New Reality started, as many great movements do, with a few vague notions in the head of a single individual. It did not begin as a fully formed movement, or even as a necessarily cohesive set of concepts. These evolved out of an organic process, with that individual believing strongly enough in the truth and necessity of his ideas to share them with a group of like-minded people. Together, they came to embrace and share the tenets of what we now call Building A New Reality, or BANR.
Founder Ted Wachtel is a social scientist, educator, author, and was a serial entrepreneur before the term was coined. He retired in 2015 from his position as president of the International Institute of Restorative Practices (IIRP), a graduate school he also founded in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.
More Voice. More Choice. More Responsibility.
With a quick mind and nearly boundless energy, Ted has always been a man of ideas and action. Now that he had brought to fruition his biggest idea to date, he still had one significant goal he wanted to accomplish: applying the tenets of restorative practices to what he recognizes as six essential facets of modern life.
He believes that, in doing so, we can move a fractured society—deviating from the intended path of democracy—toward becoming one in which every person can enjoy more voice and more choice in their daily lives, in return for taking more responsibility for their choices and actions.
That 2016 election served, among other things, to highlight this tear in our social fabric. Ted recognized this breach as disastrous to any society whose goals include lasting peace and prosperity. He saw clearly that restoring people’s faith in government, and civility to public discourse—regardless of the person’s political leanings—was critical to mending this jagged rip through every one of those six facets.
There is, of course, far more to the BANR movement, but Ted saw this as the best place to start. Achieving any other progress would be difficult to impossible, if people aren’t first willing to trust their leaders and each other.
Building A New Reality: Think Globally, Act Locally
This initial post—the first we ever published on this website—lays out the framework of this foundational idea to the BANR concept. It explains the genesis of this movement before it even had a name. It also discusses the reasons Ted feels strongly enough about its importance to devote the remainder of his working life to its development, acceptance and embrace.
If this post resonates with you, we ask you to share it widely among your social networks using the share buttons below. Also, please consider getting personally involved to help us gain traction for Building A New Reality for us all.