Peacemakers – Conflict Resolution – A 3rd Solution

Budapest by Blimp: Praying Hands

Budapest by Blimp: Praying Hands (Photo credit: onkel_wart (thomas lieser))

You know – we’ve heard a lot about the Trayvon Martin case, and George Zimmerman this past weekend.  Lots of people have shared “reactions”.  There are those who think our justice system worked, and those who feel it failed.  No matter what your opinion you know strong feelings are involved.

A 17 year-old lost his life.  That is a tragedy on all counts.
Yet – another man with good intentions was changed forever.  He valued his home and family too, and he was doing what he thought necessary to protect them.

What if, however, instead of reacting, we focus on thinking, and pondering real solutions.  Reacting is easy.  Finding solutions, may take a look inside.  It might involve change….

It’s easy to take a position and stand in a corner…
It’s easy to be a Monday morning critic and judge from the sidelines.

What is NOT easy, is to face conflict,  in positive, peaceful ways.

What is not easy is learning to stand up for yourself and when or if needed – to stand up confidently – and face conflict in a positive and respectful way. Your conflict may be small and involve asking someone to turn their music down in their cubicle at work, or it may be more serious and require that you deal with false accusations or unfair criticism.

Certainly Mr. Zimmerman and Mr. Martin had some different ways of communicating, but what if that was different?

What if Mr. Zimmerman had started a friendly conversation instead of whatever he did, what if Trayvon had done the same. “Hey – warm night huh? What’s up? How are you doing?”.  I’m sure a lot of people have considered the what if’s, so I won’t go on, but you get the point.

People skills.
When did we forget common people skills?
Are we forgetting to teach our children basic respect, consideration, and polite conversation?
….or are we forgetting to use the skills we did learn early in life?
When did we forget how to have neighborly conversations over the back fence?
What could have been said, that would have let Mr. Zimmerman, and Mr. Martin – both know that conflict was not necessary?

That is the tragedy of the situation, that there was no basic ability to communicate in a way that was a courteous or respectful. These two gentlemen failed to let the other know that no conflict was necessary or even present.  That simple conversation did not happen.

Why?  I think that is the question we need to be asking?

I’m no expert on these issues… I’m really not.   But there are those who are….

I picked up a book this weekend called, The Power of Positive Confrontation.  by Barbara Pachter.   If you’ve never read a conflict resolution book before, I HIGHLY recommend it.  If you have studied the subject before, but think you have room for improvement, I’d recommend it as well.  If you think you handle conflict well, because you’re good at putting people in their place, I’d recommend it for you too. It is filled with practical examples, and some basic steps to take as you approach conflict.

It will give you a lot to think about.    Whether your conflicts are small, or large, you’ll find something helpful here.

Like I said, I am no expert on this subject, but I think the best way to honor Trayvon, and to prevent future tragedies such as this one, is to become a better at peacemaking.

Maybe we all can take steps today to work on communicating respectfully, confidently and peacefully.  I guess my wish is for peace.  My wish  – is that instead of the continued public “reaction”, we’d all pause.  We’ll all stop, and think.   Shouting accusations won’t solve anything.   However, if we take time today, to listen, and to do the real work of coming to peaceful resolutions to those conflicts, we all have in our own lives, we will be better prepared for the unexpected or difficult conflicts.

If we can learn to be confident and respectful, and kind, even in difficult situations, and if we teach our children to do the same, we will be able to build the future we all really want.


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