Lesson of the Week
Peacemaker: I find winning ways to work through disagreements
Being a peacemaker is like traversing this path – moving through without getting entangled.
Being a peacemaker means to: mediate, negotiate, arbitrate, bring to terms, conciliate, intercede, intermediate, moderate, reconcile, propitiate, referee, restore harmony, settle, strike a happy medium, bury the hatchet, hammer out a deal, make peace. How simple these verbs, but how complex they become when practically applied.
Here’s an example. Two partners were fighting. And fighting. And fighting. In fact they fought for over thirty years. A neutral “third party” had an idea to stop the fighting – unbundling. She defined unbundling as a sort of unraveling the complicated issues like unraveling a tangled ball of yarn or gold necklace chain. It’s hard to untangle anything when two sides are pulling in separate directions.
The partners met with the woman and they made a systematic, detailed list of issues. The issues were presented as nobody’s “fault” and the outcome was to simply unravel all the issues until they became clearly recognizable and distinct. This was done on a large, visible white flip chart. To the surprise of both, the partners started sorting through the issues, divvying them up, taking responsibility for their individual parts, and coming to a resolution, which was to break up the partnership. The unbundling worked because the exercise was one of understanding not proving fault or exercising power.
How can you improve your peacemaking? By unbundling the issues and making the resolution one of not proving fault or mongering power. Take for instance Nelson Mandela and his “no fault” reconciliation that stopped the systematic murdering of people in his country. How did he do this? By becoming a peacemaker. Another example is Mother Theresa of Calcutta who as a tiny powerless single woman energized millions to do great healing work. How did she do this? By becoming a peacemaker.
What can your mission accomplish by you becoming a peacemaker and having a winning way to work through disagreements? As the Alka-Seltzer ad promoted, “Try it, you’ll like it.” And if you don’t, try a more effective approach. Done right, being a peacemaker will work either to resolve the external situation or to bring you internal resolve.
“Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal.
- Martin Luther King, Jr., Clergyman and African-American Civil Rights Leader
Activity: Seven Words or Less
Materials: Paper and a pen or pencil.
Time: Ten minutes to write and ten minutes for each person to discuss their answers.
1. List five times in your life when you “felt” you failed to be a peacemaker and were not able to solve a disagreement in a winning way. This can be a time when you were trying to discipline your child, get along with a friend, resolve issues with a company, argue politics, get a refund, get your point across to your child, get your spouse to respond in a certain way, change the world, or any other time that you feel you failed to be a peacemaker.
2. Across from each of these examples, write a seven word or less statement that would have been a better response to what you did that failed.
3. Read your items and seven word responses to the other people in the group. (If you are not in a group, find someone with whom to do this exercise.)
4. Answer these questions:
a) What is similar about these five events?
b) What is similar about the failures you made in these events?
c) What have you learned that will help you be a better peacemaker in the future?
I am peaceful so I can …… We’d like to hear your story about being able to find winning ways to work through disagreements. Write your story below.
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