From The Morning Call – October 20, 2005
It’s 1 a.m. Tuesday and your neighbor’s dog is still barking.
Or, you’re driving to work frustrated and furious that you have to share an office with the most obnoxious person on the face of the earth.
Or, your 13-year-old daughter wants to “hang out” at the mall; you forbid it, and she is screaming through the house upsetting the rest of the family.
Sound familiar? These are among the dozens of conflict situations we face every day. Conflict is a part of life. It cannot be avoided, nor should it be. Innovative ideas are often born of conflict. But when conflict is allowed to continue or escalate without being addressed, the costs to individuals, families and society are significant.
What is conflict? Generally it is an ongoing disagreement between two or more stakeholders in a situation about needs, goals, philosophies or priorities. These disagreements manifest themselves in many ways such as hostility, physical illness, gossip, avoidance, sabotage, verbal or physical abuse, destruction of property, lack of or aggressive communication and other detrimental behaviors. Often the parties involved see no alternative.
Today, Oct. 20, is National Conflict Resolution Day, established to increase public awareness of conflict resolution and its many benefits. Through constructive problem solving, parties can often create a plan which will protect the interests of all concerned, and resolve the problem. The solutions are only limited by the creativity of those concerned — there are no rules, only resolutions. The parties themselves arrive at a win-win solution.
For example, perhaps the dog could be let out earlier in the evening, or the non-dog owner’s son could earn some money by walking the dog when the owner is not home, or the parties could jointly fence in the dog’s back yard so he could go outside during the day. There are dozens of other possibilities that might be agreeable to all concerned.