Pattie Porter continues to offer valuable interviews related to conflict resolution. In April, she will be offering four related to conflict in families and between generations. Information below. (In February, I was pleased to be a guest on her program; links to listen to that program titled "Brains on Purpose: Traits and States to Shape Your Conflict Fate" are here.)
We hope that we, and our family and loved ones will come together in the kindest ways when someone we care about is dying. We hope the shared experience of loss will bring out the best in us. But grief and loss brings all kinds of feelings to the surface.
For many, many years, I have passed these steps on my walks through the neighborhood. In well over a decade, I have never noticed the shadows cast by the fence. As I have mentioned before, my new interest in iPhoneography has me looking with new eyes. To see this beauty right near home yesterday caused a slow, small smile on my lips and then a desire to walk quickly home to share the unexpected gift.
As I headed home, I heard questions in my mind: Stephanie, if you missed this, what else have you not noticed?
And what are you going to do to make sure you notice now—and tomorrow?
Last week, in weather that was over 70 degrees, a sign warning about ice caught my attention. Don't you think my photo of the sign makes a fitting poster to welcome the new spring? Enjoy the coming season!
April is Jazz Appreciation Month. Colorado Jazz Workshop's Monday Combo and Saturday Afternoon Combo are starting the celebration early, on March 26, at Dazzle in Denver. 7:00 PM. Are you going to join them?
March 26 is also the birthday of Leonard Nimoy (Star Trek's Spock). Isn't that auspicious? Spock and jazz! A fine fusion. A cool connection. A nice nexus.
Some of us set goals or make choices based on what we don't want to happen, what we want to move away from; others of us are moved by what we want to attain, or move towards. In any given situation, some people are away-from aroused while others are towards propelled. This away from (prevention)/towards (promotion) preference is called regulatory focus; I have blogged about it before.
While doing some research on zombies and other kinds of monsters, I kept thinking of regulatory focus. If we learn from stories (see my last post which is about whether stories teach), then perhaps our regulatory focus would give a clue as to what kinds of stories are most edifying for each of us. Which stories are most influential are likely not one-size-fits all since we are not monolithic. The type of story that will motivate is probably situational, too: Brian may be motivated by a story about how he doesn't want his life to turn out when looking at finances, but by the story of someone who got it right in the arena of health.
Approaches such as Appreciative Inquiry and Solution Focused seek to find out what has worked in the past and move towards the future with those successes or assets in mind. Their stories don't invite or include monsters from the past. These methods seems to be towards/promotion focused and the stories are, too. The approaches are growing in popularity and who would argue with their spotlight on the positive?
In a significant sense, monsters are a part of our attempt to envision the good life or at least the secure life. Our ethical convictions do not spring fully grown from our heads but must be developed in the context of real and imagined challenges. In order to discover our values, we have to face trials and tribulation, and monsters help us imaginatively rehearse. Imagining how we will face an unstoppable, powerful, and inhuman threat is an illuminating exercise in hypothetical reasoning and hypothetical feeling.
When we seek to teach through narrative or story, should we include a mix of tales? Both of monsters or mistakes and of pioneers or progress? Look at what could go or has gone wrong, along with what can or has gone right? What do you think?
How much can reading or hearing stories about strangers or fictional characters help us learn to make wiser decisions in our own lives? That's a question I've had for many years. How many case studies or scenarios have been presented in classes and seminars I've taken in the past decades? Since I learned to read, how many fiction books have I finished in which characters have overcome challenges? Way too many to count. Have these stories helped me to improve skills, make better decisions, prevail over difficulties?
I don't know. With any certainty, all I can say is many have been entertaining and have provoked some good discussions, even some rousing disagreements. Because I am unsure as to any other benefits, I was particularly intrigued by something I just read in Ethical Maturity in the Helping Professions. The authors are questioning the value of thought experiments with which many of us are familiar. They write:
...The history of ethics has become famous for what has been called 'trolleyology' (the ethical dilemma of what to do if a trolley is out of control and about to kill five people), where 'stylised scenarios' of a prepared ethical problem are presented and discussed. [Click for versions of the trolley problem.] Then more formal name given to this approach is 'quandary ethics' which typifies how we try to resolve and make decisions about situations from the lives of others , or situations thought up beforehand. ...
While this approach helps to sensitise people to ethical issues and to play with possible resolutions, the concern is that we can begin to see ethics as simply resolving a problem. From this place, problems are 'out-there' issues about which we can be dispassionate and rational. We are 'outside the problem' ... . The people involved are not known to us, do not have a relationship with us, and so we have to deal with what Appiah calls the 'umpire fantasy'—that we are searching for a judge
Three conflict resolution programs on May 2 and 3. Will you be joining us at these events sponsored by the ADR Section of the Maryland Bar Association?
And what does Edgar Allan Poe have to do with mediation?
Poe is acknowledged by many as the genius who invented the detective story and inspired the genre of science fiction. Over 150 years after his death, we can still learn much from the imagination of this author and poet.
A skilled mediator is a supreme detective. The foremost, primary, and threshold mystery to solve: What method of mediation is best suited to the individual conflict professional, the parties, and the conflict. We will use an assessment approach to facilitate that first solution.
The clues a mediator must be able to read with precision involve self-awareness and self-knowledge, discovery of purpose, theory of mind (or discovering what's in the minds of other people), and razor focus on solutions, not problems. We will take our magnifying glasses to those topics and sharpen those skills.
(Click on any of the photos in this post to see a larger version.)
My leprechauns from Ireland were out playing today, of course. Above is a photo I snapped of them with my animal fetishes from New Mexico.
I hope you are having a good Saint Patrick's Day, and enjoying yourself as much as the leprechauns are enjoying themselves! More photos of their fun below . . . When they jumped on his nose, my cherished pig (a gift from my dad) was not having much fun.
The fetishes on their own, roaming free . . .
Note: I am still learning how to make adjustments from the iPhone to apps to my blog so I don't lose color, sharpness, centering, focus, and more when I move the photos from one place to another. Have patience, please.