CONFLICT RESOLUTION EDUCATION ~ ISSUE 214 ~ AUGUST 2, 2016
By Diane Gold
DEFINING CONFLICT AND RESOLUTION
Conflict resolution education deals with how to handle a serious difference. We might call it an argument or a fight when people are using defensive language about their position. Depending upon how people were trained/schooled to proceed, this can lead to violence, which proper education can minimize.
Conflict is defined as fighting, contending, battling. Most of the time, clashing engagements such as these begin when we are young, from the very first toy we take out of the mouth of our play date or very first friend, continuing until the day we call our last.
Resolution is defined as coming to some harmonious position between two or more opposing views.
So how is it we only think it’s important to study conflict and its resolution in our third year of study in pre-law, political science, mediation training or debate? Did anyone ever think that if we began to educate our young about conflict resolution from early childhood and onward, we might have experience studying the studies, role playing the scenarios and discussing the value of the outcomes by the time we influence communities, plant seeds for our own children and make decisions that need temperance?
CONFLICT CLASS, BEGINNING EARLIER THAN KINDERGARTEN
If I were programming early public school – such as in New York – where there’s Kindergarten at 4 or when kids go to day care at 3, I would create a conflict resolution program. Of course, it’s a little dry to call it that for 3-year-olds, so What To Do When We Disagree might be a better title or WTDWWD or wu-tu-du-wu-wu-du. If I called it How To Conflict, that might be good, too. Then, everyone would have to learn the vocabulary word “conflict.”
We would discuss first that we are free minded people and may come to different conclusions about what to do in a certain situation. We would have to be calm, ourselves, in order to make a good decision. And, for that, we would introduce tai chi, a system of movement that teaches us to do slow, physical movement from every fiber of our body in order to bring the mind into a state of balance.
ACTION STEP ONE for conflict resolution is: bringing the self to a state of calmness. This ability serves to prevent sickness, enhance self-esteem, reduce the amount of times we feel stress.
The next thing would be to realize that we all have choices to make. If we are lucky and live in a land that is free, such as the United States, we decide what we will do. We can find it’s more important to get our way than it is to be kind. Or we can decide that we don’t have to get our way because we would have to hurt another person to do it. But talking about it from early on would give us FFF, food for thought. We would be stimulated to think and bring that thinking to school where others could respond. And the teachers, of course, would mediate, the way each student would do upon growing older.
Since we don’t have 5 years in which to study being calm or time to take a blasphemous weekend certification course in tai chi, chi kung, meditation when there is an immediate conflict, we would drill in making decisions quickly, to get good at making good decisions under pressure. It would be similar to target practice with moving targets, except with the mind.
PRIVATE PROPERTY AND HUMAN RIGHTS
The example I like to use with groups is LAND PIRACY. This is a most common conflict, so we discuss what we would do when someone came to take our land.
There are not many options. We have what is morally right, legally right, egotistically right. Not much else. All these options are open to interpretation. But, if we have been considering them since 3 years of age, we may not have to panic and strike out or panic and run the other way. This gives great value to beginning conflict resolution education early.
WHAT CAN WE DO?
Since our options are few, we have to decide what motivates us. Is it (1) who needs the land more, (2) who possesses the land because laws must be followed, (3) who will kill to get or keep the land, (4) who looks weak and who looks powerful or (5) something else?
Is it moral to have lots of land when others live in garbage cans?
Is land worth taking someone’s life?
Is land worth giving up our own life?
ACTION STEP TWO
Give these questions some thought and send in answers to email@example.com. We will read every one.
Conflict resolution education may be taught in school. Students may receive less biased information that is less home influenced at the source and learn to express themselves without family interference if they are not home schooled. Those who are may not be free to read a wide variety of world opinion, since family values may override the topic at hand.
Let’s be good citizens, all, and pass on the outcomes of history during conflict. Children can understand what happened in history. Discussion of this will develop thoughtful adults. Let’s not conceal any information in learning. Let’s put it all out there for new minds to choose for themselves. Why do we give people the skills to read and right but not to interact in debate until they are older? Hardly fair.
Let’s build conflict resolution education into every subject that is taught, because we need the skills that it teaches everywhere.
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DIANE GOLD, PUBLISHER AND AUTHOR
Diane Gold, Founder of Warriors of Weight, Turning Habits Into Health, has been a mentor in tai chi, kung fu and meditation, has been a music, fitness and stress expert, dedicated mom, studying peaceful conflict resolution, habit replacement and has been certified in plant-based nutrition.
She believes in conflict resolution education at an early age since we encounter its need as soon as we are born, or, certainly, upon socialization. She says,
“I don’t believe in hiding information from children. It is we as parents who have the responsibility to fill our children with the skills to decide how they will live and what they will believe.
“I do believe in creating circumstances that can teach children to see harmony instead of strife, to value kindness rather than property, to be productive in ways that make them happy and fulfilled.
“And I do believe it is just as important to role play social situations as it is to learn about other people’s history and crucial to start these lessons early. Think of how much more polished at handling conflict we would be. Think of how much more understanding we would be.
“Wouldn’t it be special to advance human evolution through the wisdom we would have from the longevity of this experience.
“This in itself would help take good care of each other and ourselves. It would demonstrate loving ourselves and our fellow beings at all costs – because we are all always worth it.”
EXERCISE OF THE WEEK:
CONSIDER HOW WE WOULD ACT IF SOMEONE PIRATED OUR LAND.