My mom is the ultimate optimist. She loves life no matter what it brings. She has always worked hard to make each of her three children, and each of our spouses, feel that they are her favorite and that our own three children are superstars. Each of her 9 grandchildren and each of her 5 great grandchildren adore her for her special attentiveness to them. She travels hours to see their hockey matches, and ballet recitals and babysits two four year old little girls most every week!...and don't even ask about my Dad! She has spent 65 years adoring him and making him feel King of their castle. Never mind that currently they are cruising the Arabian Sea, where she's engaged in bridge lessons while my Dad (now 83) is on deck watching for pirates (alongside the armed guards on the Fly Bridge who are legitimately hired for this purpose these unfortunate days). 

So on this Mother's Day, I want to say "thanks" to my loving, wonderful, joyful mom. The lessons of optimism, re-framing every situation to find the good and positive, the attentiveness to each person's perspective, the perseverance in keeping a family as diverse as ours (in most every way) together, year after year, week after week, the balance, and re-balance of perspectives and needs, the open ears and eager open arms, the broad shoulders, the empathic listening, the quiet reassurance (even when it's hard to believe) that "everything's gonna be alright", the light sense of humor and sage advice (as in "you should invest in Kleenex, you're going to be buying a lot of them" when our daughter became critically ill many years ago), all go into the package that is my mom. 

Happy Mother's Day: and Thanks for all of these valuable lessons. Hopefully, they have made me not only a better mediator, but a better mom as well.

Jan Frankel Schau. Problem Solver. Mediator. Author. Ally. Jan Frankel Schau, Esq. settles litigated cases arising out of employment, business and tort disputes and has mediated over 1,000 litigated cases throughout Southern California. Jan has been a Panel Neutral at ADR Services in Los Angeles since 2007 and is widely considered one of L.A.’s preeminent mediators. Jan is also a popular trainer, author and lecturer on topical issues related to Alternative Dispute Resolution, including her book, “View from the Middle of the Road: A Mediator’s Perspective on Life, Conflict and Human Interaction. Please visit: