October 15th is Conflict Resolution Day! Here are 10 things you can do.
1. Send Conflict Resolution Day cards to your friends and families. Actually, probably makes more sense to send them to your enemies and nemeses. Can’t find a Conflict Resolution Day Card? Buy a Happy Bar Mitzvah or other holiday card and scribble Conflict Resolution Day on it. No disrespect to other holidays or to the greeting card cartel.
2. Support your local mediation center. There are 400-ish community mediation centers across the U.S. We all work on tight budgets so we can offer free or low-cost services. Check out the National Association for Community Mediation (NAFCM) to find your local center.
3. Become a mediator! Many mediation centers offer intensive mediation training that can set you on the path to becoming a community mediator, and give you a slew of amazing life skills.
4. Try this stuff at home. Many mediators will tell you it’s harder to use mediation skills with our loved ones than with strangers. Whilst we hear variations of “don’t try this mediation baloney with me!” from those close to us, our skills — with the right intentions — can be mighty effective on the homefront. Here’s a list of things you can do, and my illustrated TEDx with some more hints.
5. Get the word out on social (and traditional) media. The Internets are the next big thing. Go nuts putting #ConflictResolutionDay and #mediation all over Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Friendster, MySpace, and whatever other platforms you’re on. Got contacts in traditional media? Let ’em know about mediation.
6. Got beef? Try mediation — even if you’re already a mediator and know all our Jedi mind tricks. Let’s make mediation not just a last resort, but also a first resort — an early intervention. And who doesn’t love resorts?. Grumbling about your co-worker? Got a noisy neighbor? Annoyed by your roommate or partner’s housekeeping skills? What the heck — call your local mediation center. It’s free (or low cost), confidential, and it works. What could possibly go wrong?
7. Write your local leaders about how awesome mediation is. Though we’re helping thousands upon thousands of people, we need our legislatures — local and national — to be aware of our work. In New York, the New York State Dispute Resolution Association (NYSDRA) is taking the lead on advocating for mediation in the corridors of power. Check ’em out.
8. Volunteer. Many local mediation centers could use help with all kinds of things in addition to mediating. Ask your neighborhood peacebuilders if they need any help with — you name it — social media skills, administrative help, fundraising, answering phones, etc. Join the movement.
9. Wear sunscreen. Like people, the sun is a complex thing. It’s both a burn-inducing ball of hellfire, and a generous source of Vitamin D. Learn how to work with it. There’s a metaphor about conflict resolution in there somewhere, probably.
10. Celebrate with us on November 5th at our third annual PeaceRaiser. It’ll be a hoot, with drinks, beverages, and fun activities galore.
For us at New York Peace Institute, every day is Conflict Resolution Day. (This one time, we spent it at NASA. That was cool.). Our staff, board, mediators and partners are working hard to disrupt the school-prison pipeline through restorative justice processes, build police-community relations, and help more than 10,000 people resolve their disputes peacefully and creatively each year.
Happy #ConflictResolutionDay, y’all!