May 2, 2016 by Jan Schau
You are here: HomeMediation InsightsMaxims of Mediation I learned from my Mother
Some say that Mediators are born, not trained. If I have good instincts as a mediator, I’ve got to attribute them to my Mother, Bette, seen here with her 8th great-grandchild (and my Dad) last week. Here are the important lessons in mediation that I learned from Mom.
1) Self-determination/empowerment. I know mom had an opinion on everything we three did or said, but she was always good about letting us make our own decisions. In the end, we all have Graduate Degrees, have had good careers and have been married, collectively for over 130 years! We all have healthy, intelligent, sensitive and sensible children. Significantly, despite whatever life’s challenges have been thrown our way, we all have a great deal of affection for one another and for both of our parents. Not a bad message to have been given.
2) Impartiality. My mom was the ultimate balance-maker. If Ronnie was a passion-emblazoned liberal, Rick was a “good eater” which made him a good wrestler. If I passed the Bar, Ronnie gave birth to a little boy that year. And so on. She went to great lengths to be “omni-partial”-a good lesson for mediators as well. Everybody sees themselves as her favorite child.
3) Fairness. Mom has been fastidiously even-handed with gifts, praise, time and efforts. One year we all got bread-makers for Chanukah, although I’m pretty sure only one of us ever baked bread. The grandchildren know exactly what each birthday gift will be. There is no more power in anyone’s hands than in any others. Life is as fair as she is capable of controlling for each of us-always.
4) Confidentiality. Mom loves to tell a good story-and loves to hear them more still-but she is amazingly capable of keeping secrets when asked-for the sake of the others. Hence, she is also someone we all can confide in. Safely. Confidently.
Mom has provided a lot more of life’s lessons than these, but for a mediator, having a mom like mine has served me well. Her own mother, Helen, used to boast proudly about our diverse family saying: “We’ve got the whole United Nations”. Both were good role models to which any decent mediator might aspire.
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