Conflict-it happens in any group of people and homeschool groups are no exception! Maybe it’s worse in a homeschool group because homeschool parents are typically independent-minded, confident people. Its a wonder we get along with each other at all!
Peacemaker Ministries has a suggestion to dealing with conflict, remember to PAUSE.
- Prepare (pray, get the facts, seek godly counsel, develop options)
- Affirm relationships (show genuine concern and respect for others)
- Understand interests (identify others’ concerns, desires, needs, limitations, or fears)
- Search for creative solutions (prayerful brainstorming)
- Evaluate options objectively and reasonably (evaluate, don’t argue)
We had an example of this at our homeschool co-op recently. There was a disagreement between our nursery coordinator and one of the mother’s about how to clean the toys in the nursery. Both ladies showed genuine respect for the other’s concerns (Affirm). They agreed that safety of the children was important to both (Understand). Where they differed was that the nursery coordinator wanted to use only natural products, while the mother, a physician, was concerned that the natural products wouldn’t kill the germs and wanted to use stronger chemicals. These ladies did research, gathered facts and shared them (Search). They looked for creative solutions. They chose to focus on the problem-cleaning the toys without endangering the babies-and they avoided the temptation to lash out personally or gain control (Evaluate options, don’t argue). They did bring our co-op director into the situation, so that she would know what was happening (Prepare).
Our co-op director told the board that several options were being considered and that the two ladies were working together on a solution. She raved at how mature and respectful they were to each other. Unfortunately, we did have a problem with other people in the co-op. Some people not involved in the discussion were inflaming the issue by interfering where no interference was needed. Sometimes we need to remember to PAUSE and to mind our own business.
Carol Topp, CPA