LIFE LESSONS FROM MY MOTHER
EVERYBODY NEEDS AN ALLY IN THEIR CORNER
This year's newsletter is a series of "Life Lessons", in tribute to my late mother.
They are lessons that have served me well as I apply them to mediation.
My mother was a loyal and devoted wife to my father for an astonishing 71 years
of marriage.As importantly, she was a staunch defender of every member of our
family.When one of us was critical of another, she came to their aid and tried
to balance out the criticism with praise for their accomplishments or any small
feat that could be indisputably held in high regard.If one appeared too cheap
to pay his fair share, she would be the first to point out how much time that one
devoted to whatever was momentous instead.If one failed to offer to bring anything
to holiday dinner, she would remind us that she called every week just to check
on her--devoted to family nevertheless.
Although there is a lot going on in our news today about "loyalty" and to whom it
belongs, it was always clear to me that one of the primary benefits of being a part
of a large family with my mother as matriarch, is that we owed our loyalty to one
another as family.This translated into my siblings and I each having three or
four decade-long marriages, traveling together every summer (this year I think marks
25 years!), and generally being there to watch each other's back.
In this month, when my husband and I celebrate both our own 38th wedding anniversary
and the marriage of our youngest son to his beautiful and intelligent bride, to
whom he has been the loyal boyfriend for more than 7 years now, this concept of
"always having someone else's back" and the comfort of knowing that somebody always
has your back, are particularly salient.
In mediation, a savvy litigator will enlist the help of a diplomatic mediator to
"watch their back" as the mediator engages in the fine points of negotiation back
and forth. It takes trust and faith, that the mediator won't reveal your secrets
and won't sell you or your client short.But when it is done with tactfulness
and care, it can pave the way towards a satisfying settlement in ways that the "warrior"
mode adopted by trial lawyers may not be successful at accomplishing.For those
clients who are otherwise disenfranchised or alone in the legal morass, a mediator
who can be counted upon to be loyal to each side's interests can be an invaluable
resource in helping clients get to the other side of the conflict in ways that assure
they feel respected, heard and appreciated.
P.S.:I will be presenting at the annual Southern California Mediation Association's
Employment Conference on June 20, 2017 on the topic of :Mediating Employment Cases
in Changing Times".I hope you'll join us.You can register here: SCMA Employment