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Kintsugi- Golden Repair

Making mistakes, experiencing challenge and breakdown of communication or relationships, can be difficult for anyone but can be particularly difficult for our autistic children and young people or those who have experienced trauma or children and young people with additional needs. However, as we know, the Growth Mindset recognises setbacks as a necessary part of the learning process and advocates increasing motivational effort to enable individuals to ‘bounce back’ with increased resilience.

This mindset sees ‘failings’ or ‘breakages’ as temporary and changeable, and a crucial part of learning, resilience building, motivation, and performance.

Golden Repair

Kintsugi, or Golden Repair, dates back to the 15th century the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery by mending the areas of breakage with lacquer dusted or mixed with powdered gold, silver, or platinum; As a philosophy, it treats breakage and repair as part of the history of an object, to be celebrated as a strength rather than something to disguise or hide.

Kintsugi teaches that your ‘broken’ places, or mistakes, make you stronger and better than ever before. When you think you are ‘broken’, you can pick up the pieces, put them back together, and learn to embrace the cracks. Kintsugi teaches that your broken places make you stronger and better than ever before.

Star Wars and kintsugi

In Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019), Kylo Ren’s repaired helmet is inspired by Kintsugi.

Kintsugi and Resilience…

Kintsugi can relate to life, accepting change and fate, celebrating, and finding beauty in imperfections. With breaks highlighted instead of hidden, the fracture becomes a beautiful part of the piece’s history and makes it unique, and the original piece continues to be used and valued and becomes stronger and more beautiful as a result of the break. In this way, the art of kintsugi serves as a powerful metaphor for life.

Kintsugi teaches us about accepting fragility, building strength and resilience, and taking pride in the imperfect, whether that’s within ourselves or within relationships. Things can and do fall apart, we experience challenges and make mistakes, this is how we grow, learn, and change.

So, how can we repair? What is the Golden Glue that sticks us back together or mends our ‘broken’ relationships. What makes us even stronger than before? Perhaps it is our sense of purpose, our sense of belonging, our social connections, our support networks, and our healthy stress management strategies that help us build resilience, allows us to adapt to and recover from adversity.

How can we support our Children and Young People to have Golden Repair?

  • Positive Restoration
  • Listening & Learning
  • Reflect & Repair
  • Putting things right again

Talk through and consider…

  • What happened?
  • How did you feel?
  • What did you do?
  • What else could you have done?
  • What needs to happen?  Change?

Example Proactive Repair and Reflection Activities…

  • Pupil Voice Gathering
  • Active Listening
  • Reflective Restorative Justice
  • Comic Strip Conversations
  • Puppets / Avatars / Small World Figures
  • Books
  • Role Play
  • Blobs / Emotions Cards