Phases of the Moon, the newsletter of the Maine NVC Network
Volume Seven, Issue Five: NVC Family Camp

Our newsletter appears approximately once a month. Our purpose is to contribute to the NVC learning of people who have taken at least an NVC Level 1 workshop, and help us stay connected as we endeavor to deepen a culture of peace within ourselves, our families and the world. We believe a Level 1 offers so many new ways of thinking that additional support for learning and integration could be helpful.

We endeavor to make each edition informative, connecting, inspiring and fun. Please let us know how the newsletter might contribute to your NVC well-being. Email: newsletter at

This month’s guest contributor is Steve Andersen, co-host of the first Family HEART Camp to be offered in New York State.


How Can We Teach Compassion to Our Young People?

by Steve Andersen

Remembering back to my youth, I recall growing up in a family with the expectation that I would do as I am told, when I was told to do it. Discussion was not allowed, let alone encouraged. Beatings were used as enforcement.

I vowed never to beat my own children. My wife and I went to family counseling to learn a system of "logical consequences" to get what we wanted from our children. I felt so enlightened. To keep the family running without beatings! Yet looking back, there was still little sense of connection and awareness of what was alive in each one of us. Emotional battles still erupted, especially as the children moved into their teenage years.

After my late wife died, and the children were grown and out of the house, I explored new professions, and changed my residence several times. I landed a job in an international company, and was so excited about traveling the world and making a difference. Then I experienced their corporate culture as too constraining for me. Again I started looking for a way both to give back to the world and to experience it. Then I noticed the Peace Corps.

Two years in the Peace Corps, in West Africa, was one of the hardest physical experiences in my life, and it opened my heart immensely. I sensed somehow a large world, where we are brothers and sisters even at great distances. Returning to the USA was a reverse culture shock; I had to readjust from one of the poorest regions on earth to one of the most affluent. We have so much.

One day, sitting at home in Upstate NY, I noticed the local Buddhist Center was offering an introduction to something called "Nonviolent Communication." I had no idea what that was, but with my Peace Corps experience being so fresh, I just had to check it out.

Oh my, after watching Marshall Rosenberg talk about NVC on video, I just immersed myself in it. I read books, took courses, and eventually started sharing classes with adults in churches and the local food coop. I even went to a 9 day NVC workshop in Israel/Palestine because I wanted to get the sense of the possibilities of NVC had to offer, even in a part of the world with great conflict. I was impressed.

While I was at this workshop, I met a young man with a special sense of peace & presence about him. We spoke about many things over our several days together. Then he mentioned that he was a second generation NVC-er. In other words, he grew in a family where both parents knew and used NVC with him.

Oh my gosh, I thought, what would happen in our world if all younger people were introduced to NVC?

But how to do that?

Upon returning to the USA from Israel/Palestine, I did some research and found an organization called "Family HEART Camp." I liked the sound of the camp, and what it aspired to do. But I still wasn’t convinced. Exactly how would they teach NVC to young people? Would we have the young people sit down at a table, and discuss sections of Marshall Rosenberg’s book, then do role plays, like I did with adults?

So I asked experienced trainers in the Family HEART Camp how young people learn NVC. I heard them say something like, "We play games together, model NVC behavior, and they learn."

I didn’t believe it.

Children learn NVC by experiencing it in a fun environment, and by seeing it modeled for them?

Yet I wanted to be open and learn more. So I volunteered at an existing HEART Camp, and played games, and watched. I saw children & parents having lots of fun, and I saw difficulties arise between children, and between young people and their parents. What was different was that I saw adults experienced in NVC speaking with young people, parents, and the whole family together. I saw connections being made, understanding growing, and mutual agreements developing.

But I still wasn’t sure that this is the way that young people can learn NVC.

Then came the closing circle on the closing day. Families were invited to share their experiences. I heard multiple parents attest to the compassion that they were feeling in their families. I heard parents who had been coming for a few years say that their households have been transformed with clearer, more vulnerable communication, and agreements that everyone supported. I heard young people say that they felt that they were being heard, and that what was happening inside them made a difference.

Then I was convinced.

This is a way for our young people to learn compassion. Let’s nurture compassion into the fabric of our families. Let’s be in community as we contribute to peace in our world, both now and in the future.

Steve Andersen is Co-host of this summer's New York Family HEART Camp, which is being held August 26-September 2 at Camp Unirondack, Lowville, NY. Steve is also a candidate for Certification as an NVC trainer, and shares NVC across the country by offering talks and classes as he travels in his RV.

Related suggestions:

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Upcoming Trainings

Trainings listed here are in the Maine region. If you wish to list an event, please follow our guidelines for submission. Please note that both certified and non-certified trainers, (who are willing to follow certain requirements of the Center for Nonviolent Communication), may be leading the posted trainings. Listing here does not imply endorsement by the Maine NVC Network of the trainer or the event.

Registration is now open for the 2016-17 Maine NVC Integration Program
Read what past participants have said about this life-changing course!
details & registration form

Special Offer for early registrants:

  • The first six people to register will receive 1 FREE hour of NVC coaching/empathy from a trainer.

June 11-12, Brunswick, ME
Clear & Compassionate Communication, Level 1

Leah Boyd
details and registration

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  • Monthly Empathy Circle:
    • Belfast, ME
      Second Friday of each month, 10am-1pm (formerly first Friday)
      Open Communication office, 243 High Street, Belfast
      You are welcome to come when you can.
      If this is your first time coming, please contact Linda beforehand:
      Phone 207-322-2122
      email: chezcote5 at

    • Authentic Communication Groups
      Falmouth, ME

      with Andrea Ferrante, trainer and coach
      Two groups meet biweekly, one on alternate Wednesdays; the other on alternate Mondays.
      Authentic Communication Groups are coaching groups designed to open you up to an approach to living that offers greater peace, personal empowerment, and conscious connection to that which sustains and enriches life.

    • See also the Practice Groups page.

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Paid Announcements

Clarity Services, LLC
Now Accepting Clients

Helping groups of people think together collaboratively and effectively
Free 30 minute initial consultation:
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Open Communication

welcomes individuals and couples, who want NVC-based support, to meet with them at their new office in Belfast, ME
Please contact Peggy:
email: peggy at


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