We've all been there: entangled in a bit of a mess with those we love the most. Some of us flee, some of us attack, others want to work it out. And probably most of us vacillate among the three responses to our problems at home. I'd like to share a really oversimplified approach to interpersonal conflict management that really does work in our house!
At home, we start with a giant white board to develop a strategy to deal with issues that arise in our family. You have heard that communication is the #1 strategic key to resolving conflict. So let's start with that overarching goal.
TIP #1: MAKE A DATE TO ANALYZE
After you've picked the problem apart and everyone feels validated, it's time to turn to solutions.
TIP #2: BRAINSTORM TO SOLVE
The plan of execution is a critical aspect of conflict management as you put "meat to the bones" (that expression is for Rico).
TIP #3: EXECUTE
Of course, problem solving is not a once 'n done, as the strategy to communicate requires a bit of push and pull, reflection, shifting ideas, refocusing, adjusting, and monitoring.
So you want a practical example in my life at the moment?
Okay. In one word: Rico.
My beloved, dear, sweet, inquisitive Rico. He needs care. He chews on my shoes and pulls my jackets off their hooks on the wall. He really does eat paper--and I'm a teacher! I have a lot of paper around. He is not house-trained. He makes me go out into the cold and the rain. He costs money. He barks a bit at guests (and I really don't want a yappy dog). Not all members of my family adore him like I do. My heart is on my sleeve - what was I thinking?! And then I have a preschooler and a toddler - could he nip them?
For the record, here is his favorite "It wasn't me" face.
I know, I know. Doggie woes are not the biggest conflicts we will ever face. But the approach really does apply to more serious problems as well.
And of course, since communication is key, if you're like me, you will want to start this process by communicating with the Lover of your soul: God. After all, God knows our hearts and motives like no one else. The fruit of His Spirit embodies characteristics found at the core of persistent peacemakers.
If we really want to be peacemakers, we'd better deal with our own inner tendencies to be selfish or prideful. It's time to ditch the "it-isn't-me" face since it probably is you to some degree. Just admit it and move on keeping your eyes on the target.
I'd love to know if this approach works for you, too! Please add a comment below!
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God bless you today and happy peace making!
If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
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