Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Peacemaking Begins at Home

We often think of peacemaking in terms of negotiating a cease-fire between two warring countries, arranging a truce between street gangs, or even breaking up a fight between two angry kids on the playground. While all of these efforts are important and worthy of our support, we should not forget the importance of modeling peacemaking at home in our personal relationships with our spouses and children.

Below, I have reposted an article from M&M's monthly health update which offers some helpful tips for doing precisely that. While my wife and I do not have children and, consequently, have not used this exact approach in our own home, we are familiar with and, on occasion, have used the speaker-listener technique for couples which is very similar to the method outlined below.

Peacemaking is something that is needed and can be practiced at all levels of society, ranging from small disputes between spouses all the way up to major geopolitical conflicts involving several nations. Perhaps if we were to practice peacemaking more on the personal level, we wouldn't find it to be so challenging in other, more complex areas of our lives.


Occasional family conflicts are normal, so it's best to have a strategy for resolving disagreements. Try a family roundtable with these steps.
  • Gather the group and appoint a moderator. For initial meetings, this should be a parent. As family members learn the routine, the moderator role can be rotated.
  • Explain the ground rules. No blaming, labeling or name-calling. Everyone has an equal voice.
  • Work on one problem. Clearly state the issue to be discussed, such as: "We're here to discuss how to divide the responsibility for walking the dogs."
  • Allow each family member to state his or her opinion. No interruptions allowed.
  • Brainstorm solutions. List all ideas without judging or reacting to them.
  • Narrow the field. Give each person a chance to choose his or her preferred solution.
  • Seek agreement. If you can't agree 100 percent on one solution, look for a compromise. For example, combine two solutions, or agree to try each idea for one week and discuss the outcome.
  • If tempers flare, take a timeout. Meet again at another time.
  • Ask for help. If, after repeated attempts, your family members aren't able to resolve a challenging problem, consider using a mediator, such as a clergyperson or a licensed mental health provider. Some communities also offer local mediation services. Check with your local government to see if one is available in your area.

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At Saturday, January 24, 2009 at 8:36:00 AM EST , Blogger Lynn Sweeting said...

Hi Dan, yes, peacemaking begins at home, even more so, it begins in the heart and voice of the individual at home. Ah, blessed peace...
Bright blessings to you.

At Saturday, January 24, 2009 at 11:23:00 AM EST , Blogger haitianministries said...

Thanks for stopping by, Lynn!


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