Meeting Recap 3/28 - Stinky Mess (Conflict Resolution)

We all face conflict in our lives. It is a natural by product of human relationships. It is something that even in the best relationships will never completely eliminate. We must learn to deal with conflict in constructive ways in order to have peaceful homes. Marie Nelson brought the importance of conflict resolution to our attention during our last MOPS meeting. She illustrated one of the main causes of conflict the following way:

Marie had several ladies look at the same box and write down a description of what they saw. Each lady was fairly certain that she had written down an accurate description of the box. But when Marie read the descriptions, they were drastically different. How could this be? The women had all seen the same box, but they were each shown a different decorated side of the box. Each lady was correct in her description and understanding of the box, but their perspectives were different, leading to the conflicting accounts of the box's appearance.

The main point of Marie's illustration was the concept of perspective. When two people look at something or experience an event, they see it differently because of their different perspectives. These perspectives are based on our life experiences, family histories, capability, even physical attributes can make a difference. Marie stressed the importance of remembering perspective when dealing with conflict.

This week's craft - Preschool Resurrection Eggs!
A set of 6 resurrection eggs designed with toddler's understanding level in mind.
To assemble: select 6 plastic eggs and number them 1-6. Place item listed on instruction sheet in egg (in the order listed) along with the Bible text. Children can open eggs in order as you tell them the story of Jesus's death and Resurrection. 

She first gave an example of how perspective can help us better deal with difficult situations with our children. You might ask your child to go do a chore but they don't. Before getting upset at the child, try looking at the situation from the child's perspective. Were the instructions clear enough for their level of understanding? Were there unforeseen obstacles that kept them from being able to accomplish the goal? Sometimes just asking why can keep a situation from boiling out of control. (Taking a moment to evaluate a conflict from your children's perspective is not a license for them to be disobedient. It is taking a moment to more fully understand the situation and react intentionally rather than unthinkingly.)

When dealing with disagreements with our spouses or other relationships, Marie offered these six tips to help work from conflict to resolutions.

  1. Actively listen to what the other person is saying and the feelings being expressed.
  2. Make resolution a priority.
  3. Focus on the present. Don't dredge up all your old arguments. 
  4. Pick your battles. Sometimes "winning" or getting "your way" isn't worth the battle. 
  5. Be willing to forgive.
  6. Know when to let go.
Marie also reminded us that when conflict is resolved in a healthy manner, trust is strengthened and relationships are made stronger.