What Is Conflict and Training

Meeting Conflict Constructively and Mediation Training Information

What is conflict? Merriam-Webster Dictionary online defines conflict this way: “a struggle for power, property, etc.; strong disagreement between people, groups, etc., that results in often angry argument; a difference that prevents agreement; disagreement between ideas, feelings, etc.”
Thomas Crum, who wrote The Magic of Conflict and teaches people to resolve conflicts creatively, says, “Our lives are not dependent on whether or not we have conflict. It is what we do with conflict that makes the difference. Resolving conflict is rarely about who is right. It is about acknowledgment and appreciation of differences.”
We all face conflicts in our lives nearly every day, even with those people we love the most. Because we like different foods, have different interests, different preferences for the way to spend time, and different ideas about the best way to do things, we have conflicts within our families. In our culture we often think that conflict shows a failure to get along with other people. But conflict is simply a fact of life; conflict itself is neither positive nor negative. Different ways of dealing with conflict can be positive or negative and have positive or negative consequences.
There are many different ways to deal with conflict. There are positive, creative ways of dealing with conflict: compromising, negotiating, meeting in mediation, respecting all persons in the disagreement, working to find common ground, agreeing on priorities, forgiving one who has caused hurt, and more. Dealing with conflict in these ways allows people on both sides to have their needs met (win, win), is often healing, and results in improved relationships.
We have seen some negative, destructive ways of dealing with conflict: disrespecting persons of another group, namecalling, ignoring or refusing to deal with problems, staking positions and refusing to talk with the opposing party, bullying, writing hateful things online, physical and verbal abuse, violence, and more. These tactics may result in all parties losing (lose, lose), deeper rifts in relationships, people being hurt, and even death.
If you would like to improve your ability to resolve your conflicts creatively and help other people resolve conflicts, Mediation Services of Adams County has Conflict Resolution and Mediation Training beginning this week: Saturday 9-5 and Sunday 1-5 of the weekends of April 11-12 and April 25-26 at Glatfelter Hall at Gettysburg College. The workshop includes training in conflict styles, active listening, communication skills, negotiation, mediation techniques and role plays. The cost is $200. Workshop scholarships are available on request for representatives from human service agencies or churches. For more information call 717-334-7312 or email mediationac@yahoo.com. You may register online or print a registration form; go to http://mediateadams.org, go to Training, and follow directions for your preference.

Mary Kay Turner is a teacher, who is a trainer, mediator, and board member for Mediation Services of Adams County (MSAC). Trained mediators are available at MSAC to help people work to resolve conflicts due to strained family relationships, disputes with neighbors, contractors, landlords, and other conflicts. An economical fee based on income is charged. If you would like to learn more about mediation, please contact Mediation Services of Adams County at the contact information above.