Still Waters

Good leaders and dispute resolvers share a job and a skill in common. They must create a sense of safety and reassurance for those experiencing tumult and upset; we make space in which to hear, think, and evaluate.  Mediators are trained that reducing the effects of an overly stimulated amygdala (in the brain) is key to unlocking human potential to think analytically and problem solve. This is a neurological fact.

Fine leaders and dispute resolvers are also “neutral” in that we must control ourselves to serve not our personal interests but the common good - be it of corporation, family, clients or a country. It is a sacred trust. Others – our clients, our constituents, our stakeholders - depend on such a form of unselfishness.

In the America of January 2017, we are experiencing a kind of shock - there is more than a jumble of emotion including confusion, fear and anger. These can quickly become very destructive. Public hysteria must be averted. Information must be calmly and accurately presented in quiet ways so that people can receive it. Reaction and action must be based on a measure of correct information, some calm, wisdom, strength, and good will toward others, the public good.

There will not be agreement on all policy questions – we are a large and diverse country. But some things are settled. The Rule of Law is our bulwark in America. Ability to take in good information, using process, are foundational to hopes of stability and forward movement to discover and protect the public good. Legal process – our rule of law – facilitates our being able to do that.

Maybe as we are considering our engagement in the body politic, the populace shares with leaders and dispute resolvers this duty to recall that it is not “all about us.” It should be about the public good and the common ground. But how can we discern that if we cannot even talk to each other and hear each other?

What can each of us do to build space for dialogue, discern and serve the long term interests of our great country that we are so privileged to receive from our founders and all those who have brought it forward along the way?

Jeanne Franklin