The Party The story of a conflict resolution gone good.

Bill and Jane had competing priorities.

For one to be happy, the other would have to give-in, but there had to be another way…

The Story

Bill and Jane were having an argument while waiting for their mom to come back from the store.

Bill wanted to go eat. He had been playing soccer all afternoon and was hungry. Jane was dying to go to the beach. She had a new swimsuit she wanted to try out.

“I want to go swimming,” Jane said. “This is the first day all week that the weather has been nice.”

“But I’m starving! Can’t we go to the beach later?”

“No way! We only have a couple of hours till the sun sets!” Jane exclaimed, hoping to get a bit of a tan before the day was over.

They went on arguing like this until their mom came in carrying several grocery bags.

“Hey guys!” she said. “What’s wrong?”

“I’m starving!” Bill said loudly. “But she’s trying to drag me to the beach!”

“We can go eat later!” retorted Jane. “It’s a great day for swimming!”

“Wait a second,” their mother replied. “You can do both! Our neighbors are having a pool party today, and there’ll be plenty of food. They’re new in town and would love to meet you two.”

Bill and Jane loved the idea! Thanks to their mom, they both got what they wanted.


Personal Reflection.

Who says you can’t get what you want? When resolving conflicts, a good solution doesn’t have to mean that no one gets exactly what they asked for.

It may simply be that the ultimate solution is hidden at first. But once everyone brings out their ideas, you may discover the perfect solution for all.

No one person has all the facts. Collaboration brings together the best ideas from everyone, and then creates a synergy that may produce an even better idea than anyone imagined.

Bill and Jane were limited by what they knew. As they saw it, they had only two options, and clearly either option required the sacrifice of one of the parties involved. There was no way for both of them to be happy with the solution. Or so they thought!

When they added their mom to the equation, she brought not only another point of view, but also additional knowledge. Because she knew something they didn’t, she was able to propose a solution that worked for everyone.

Bill and Jane could never have come up with the perfect solution on their own because they were too stubborn with their demands.

Do we ever get so attached to our ideas that we don’t allow others to come in and address an issue in a new way?

The medical profession, schools and courts have all found that, by bringing in people with a variety of knowledge and ideas, they create collaborations that produce solutions that work.

Their resulting solution would never have been dreamed up by any single individual. It often takes group collaboration and all the expertise to think in new ways and chart a new course.

Be willing to collaborate and you may find that the best solutions are in the group, not in yourself.


Self-Reflection Questions:

  1. Am I open to learning from others?
  2. When others have ideas, do I listen and see what I can add to them?
  3. Is there an area in my life where collaborating with others may help me find a better solution?


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