When choosing a logo for the New York Peace Institute, we insisted on avoiding the commonly-used images of our field…so, ixnay on the doves, peace signs, roundtables, and handshakes. (We did toy with the idea of a peace pigeon…a scrappy urban bird gobbling an olive branch). We wanted to carve out our own identity –and recognize that we’re as much about providing a safe space for confrontation and difficult conversations as we are a venue for peace and reconciliation. Not that those are mutually exclusive concepts.
I wish I could just as easily jettison some of our tired mediation jargon. Here are some hoary chestnuts I’d love to deep-six. I still use them, but cringe inwardly when doing so. Anyone who comes up with awesome alternatives to these will get a special shout-out in these pages.
One of the many great rewards of my work with NYSAMP (agricultural mediation) lies in its metaphors. Country Folks (the biggest ag newspaper in NY) recently published my article comparing mediation to manure. For you city folks, nutrient management includes the science of handling and distribution of manure. Let me know if you want a copy!
As to deep sixing win/win: the ever expanding cow pie is a great replacement for baking more pies and brownies instead of just cutting up a single pie as a metaphor for collaborative problem solving. Moon pies also have proven effective rewards for training purposes.
Hi Charlotte….by all means send me a copy! (My dad was raised on a Pennsylvania Dutch farm, so I’m pretty sure I’d be hep to at least some of the farming metaphors.
And thanks for reading!
I too have been driven crazy by overused buzzwords. I have to say though, that some of those cliches can be pretty effective for folkls who have had no exposure to mediation-related concepts.