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What are we teaching our children about conflict resolution?

Wednesday, 05 October 2016 498 Views 0 Comments

 

education

 

 

Conflict is an inevitable part of life for every being. It is part of nature, and is also part of development. Wordweb defines conflict as a state of opposition between persons, ideas or interests. However, this does not mean all conflicts are good conflicts. An armed conflict among different groups is not good conflict for obvious reasons. A debate on the importance of exercise in our lives, on the other hand, is good conflict. Conflict can also be internal, where one experiences opposition between two incompatible options, in the mind. External conflict is that which is experienced between two individuals or groups.

 

“Peace is not the absence of conflict but the presence of creative alternatives for responding to conflict….alternatives to passive or aggressive responses, alternatives to violence…”
Dorothy Thompson

 

 

 

Conflict resolution will therefore; automatically be an essential part for us. How we solve these conflicts, is what separates us as humans, from animals. The late Jim Rohn, a magnificent motivational speaker, put it best by saying, “a unique thing about the human being that separates us from other creatures is that we have been given the dignity of choice.”
Our country has not had a good record when it comes to solving disputes. Much as we want to shift the blame, the problem lies with us as individuals. It is failure on our part to elect the right and responsible leaders. It is failure to address our conflicts positively, and failure to embrace the fact that everyone is entitled to an opinion. It is also failure to actively teach our children the best ways of dealing with conflict, both internally, and externally.
A few months ago, over a hundred high schools in Kenya were brought down to flames by the same students attending these schools. This arson on the one hundred and eighteen high schools happened in a span of roughly two months. The reason behind this arson attack is yet to be established to the people’s satisfaction. The education minister, Fred Matiang’i blamed local disputes and bad school management for some arson cases.
This arson experienced in High schools is a clear indication that we are teaching our children the wrong method of resolving conflicts. Remember, the apple rarely falls far from the tree. The environment shapes the character and reasoning of our children. A child will often pick up values and characters from the environment. This means that we as parents and as teachers too, have a part to play as the environment shaping our children.

“In dwelling, live close to the ground. In thinking, keep to the simple.in conflict, be fair and generous. In governing, don’t try to control. In work, do what you enjoy. In family life, be completely present”
Lao Tzu

 

 

There is a need to teach our children on conflict resolution. It will help them in the long run, and allow them to disagree in a productive manner. The lessons should begin right from our homes. We should focus on our actions, because to the children, they will speak louder than the words. If we fail to do so, our children will be taught by the negative forces in the society that do not support healthy options of resolving conflict.

 

 

Conflict resolution skills will also help the child be skilled in dealing with internal conflict. This will then help them make better choices, even when they are out of our presence. We should also teach them the beauty of value and respect to others. Respect here is to mean, acknowledging the other individual is a human being and that they too, are entitled to an opinion.

 

 

I am no expert on teaching conflict resolution, but I can tell you this mantra that I live by. There are always two sides to every story. Let us teach our children to listen to the other person, and try making them understand, how the other party understands the problem. Today’s generation of children, is tomorrow’s generation of adults. Let us work on us as individuals and as a society, to make our environment alert of the positivity in conflict resolution.

Ochollah Judy

Kenya Judy is a Lawyer by profession passionate about protecting the rights of the child. She founded and runs an organisation called Sauti ya Mtoto which aims at creating a world in which children particularly, vulnerable children, can grown into adulthood and reach their maximum potential

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