Forward and Upward: A Toddler's View of Conflict Resolution Lesson #10: Hate is not a family value






Readers will recall that last year's newsletter was a series of "Life Lessons", in tribute to my late mother. This year, I am happy to report that I am learning and re-learning new life lessons through the eyes of the next generation, my granddaughter.  Like "My Mother's Legacy", these are lessons that serve me well as I apply them to mediation.  

After last week's massacre at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, I am struggling to remain "neutral" or to see a different perspective, or to empathize with anyone who wants to annihilate The Jews.  These are my people and this attack felt personal.

My toddler knows that all of the children in her very diverse, midwest neighborhood are special, lovable, and worthy of engaging in play with.  Some have wagons, some come on skates, some skip and some are wheeled.  When they arrive at the playground, they are all God's children.  Their differences are not a reason to fear or despise them. 

It happens occasionally in mediation, too.  One side has determined that they "hate" the other--for what they have done or for who they are.  It becomes an obstacle to peaceful resolution of genuine conduct when one side attributes evil to the other. Sometimes, the best we mediators can do is to ask a lot of rhetorical questions and help the hateful party to see that a Judge and jury may not see the world through their narrow prism and they can't count on a majority of strangers to agree with their world view and to "punish" the other side for who they are, instead of what they have done.  The gunman in Pittsburgh certainly didn't open up any jobs or better opportunities for those who share his thinking by murdering retirees, disabled brothers and a 97 year old Holocaust survivor.

I haven't got the answers or any wisdom to shed on what is going on in America today.  But at least I know that nursery school children are not being taught to hate "the other" and that our family recognizes that all people are worthy.  Our granddaughter is a 5th generation American Jew, but our other Grandchildren, if we are fortunate to have them, will be only 2nd generation American (meaning their Grandparents on their mother's side were all immigrants to the U.S.).  Hate can stop when families teach their children the value of love and the history that made America so strong to begin with. 

I hope to see many of you this Saturday at the SCMA Conference, where I am speaking on Advanced Communication. You can register for the SCMA Conference Here:  SCMA Conference

P.S.  I wish you and your families a wonderful, meaningful Thanksgiving this year.  I hope that you will take a moment to express your gratitude for the bounty that America has given to you and your family as it has to mine.

Warm Regards, 

Jan Frankel Schau

ADR Services, Inc.


Connect with Schau Mediation: 

Linked In


Jan SchauComment