Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Fathers Day

To all Fathers in Poland and the world, I wish you a happy fathers day. Fathers role in the family is always that of a peacemaker. A good father builds a home and resolve conflicts. Families will be free of conflicts if fathers learn to be empathic listeners. When fathers listen to their kids, trust is built, and mutual respect in the family is developed. Only in the atmosphere of trust can families resolve their disputes amicably.

Broken homes are results of broken communication among members of the family. Until some fathers start respecting the views of their wives and children in decision making, there will be no peace. Together we can resolve conflicts.

Emmy Irobi

Friday, July 06, 2007

Remain Sharp or Stay Out of Vogue

EMMY IROBI (dr)
Mediation Consultant

PROFESSIONALISM: REMAIN SHARP
OR STAY OUT OF VOGUE

This brief article examines the effectiveness of our mediation tools, while emphasising more critical self assessment of individual abilities to recognise personal strength and weaknesses. It will conclude that there is the pertinency for continuous learning to facilitate both the professional and personal growth of mediators. I have taking my inspiration from the Bible while using a brief anecdote to make this article more understandable.

The wisdom of King Solomon is yet to be challenged in our modern times. The book of Ecclesiates is considered a compendium of wisdom and knowledge for all human beings. I find in this book advise and answers to most life questions. It is not my intention to ask people to read the good book (Bible), though Christians ought to for admonition and guidance. However, for those who want to be peace makers or take Mediation as a calling, the book of Ecclesiates has a very special message for efficient and result-oriented professionalism.

Though ethically mediators do not own any dispute, or are they in any position to force disputants to reach agreements, this book has advise and educates mediators on how to prepare, remain relevant and successful in dispute resolution .

According to King Solomon, “if the axe is dull and he does not sharpen its edge, then he must exert more strength. Wisdom has the advantage of giving success” (Ecclesaistes,10:10). Taking from the above statement, an axe is an instrumrnt which we use for many purposes, such as cutting the tress, and even in butchery. And one thing any wood worker or butcher would not like to experience is a dull axe or (Knife). This will not only slow down his work,but will make him spend more time and unnecessary power in cutting down even a small tree. The fraustration and disappointment this situation brings is capable of eroding professional confidence from clients, who expects from us effective results. Hence the need to stay sharp by giving our instrument of service a facelift from time to time.

For proper understanding, I will like to borrow a story about two forest workers who challenged each other to see which one could cut down more tress in a day. At the sunrise in the morning the first one began fastly cutting down trees. He worked so fast that by mid noon he was able to fell 16 trees. Meanwhile his friend had not down so well, but was able to cut down only 4 trees, because he spent two hours to sharpen and oil his axe.

When he was doing this, his friend was laughing at him, while at the same time counting victory because his friend has wasted much time sharpening his axe. But that’s when wisdom is about to manifest. Alas! By the early afternoon the first forest worker was slowing down in apparent difficulty. It took him almost an hour to cut down a tree, while his friend was picking up speed after sharpening his axe. The first man could not understand what was happening even though both of them match in strength or stamina. But “wisdom” as king Solomon said “has the advantage of giving success.” And in this case stamina or how many trees one cut has nothing to do with the success. It was rather about whose axe is sharper.

As the day drew near to end, the result is evident. The second lumber-man who took time to update his instrument has cut several trees more than his friend and comfortably won the competition.

MEDIATORS TAKE-AWAY (Lesson)

The take away for mediators especially newly certificated ones, is that the well-over 40-50 hours of training might not be enough to remain efficient in the job. The field of ADR is new, but also becoming a challenging field of practice that requires further knowledge and learning. Especially in the aspects of marrying theory with practice. It is only wishful thinking which might convince mediators that their present situation and knowledge of mediation is enough. Basic training courses presents only the elementary knowledge of mediation, while further professional knowledge can be acquired and developed only with more practical experience and continuing education, reading relevant literature, attending forums discussing questions and dilemmas encountered by professional mediators.

In our fast globalising world, the field of ADR will be confronted to find new approaches to effective mediation practice. It will not therefore be sufficient to boast of how many cases we mediated but how conversant one is with with new approaches to dispute resolution. As conflicts become more complexed, mediators are equally faced with the need to sharpen and update their professional acumen through continuous skills acquirements. In their article in a negotiation journal, Hoffman and Bowling (2002) agree that for effective practice mediators should also take cognisant of the definition of personal and professional boundaries, and development of self-awareness. The mediators success depends mostly on his ability cleanse him or herself of accumulated biases (Emmy Irobi:2007:36-39). And as such further development of self-awareness in the areas of neutrality and empathy towards sides in disputes gives the Mediator a sharpened edge of the axe to do effective job.

Significantly, the Polish Centrum for Mediation (PCM) is equal to the task of providing training and template for such axe sharpening. Recently calls for registration for divorce and civil dispute mediation was posted in the bulletin “Mediator”(March 2007:70-74). Mediators ought to take advantage of these training opportunities to improve their services to the society. A perfect instrument of sharpening our mediation “axe” or professional tools. The attractiveness of such advantage will depend also on quality contents of the training inorder to avoid jeopardising the status of mediation as a profession, eroding the publics belief in mediation as an alternative to legal proceedings.

In conclusion, I want us to consider the lessons from our short story as well as the wise advise from King Solomon, as some thing of great importance in to our profession . One great advise here is that your present comfortable condition of knowledge and practice may feed your ego and satisfy your needs to have more clients, but eventually:

it might leave you emotionally and professionally dull.

The clients who once needed you will no sooner go for some one sharper (with new and advanced methods and skills in the process), leaving you feeling “used” and incompetent.

and because you have lost the sharp edge of your axe or professional instrument, you might not be ready and fit for new challenges that the profession might bring in future.

In this repect, mediators should not relax their oars in acquiring further knowledge in ADR or mediation, but rather should apply wisdom of increasing kowledge of the practice for better peacemaking process.

EMMY IROBI (dr.)


Tuesday, July 18, 2006

TogetherResolve: TogetherResolve

TogetherResolve: TogetherResolve

"ABUNDANCE"

Have you ever sat down to reflect on the meaning of the word "Aboundance"? what has it to do with mediation? After giving this word a second thought during my vaccation in a mountain resource south of Poland, I understood the word means that all I need is just within and has been provided by the Almighty. Great indeed.

When we are caught up in the trepidation of making decisions and trying to resolve disputes, we need to remember to tap into the great abundance of resources already provided by God for us. We need to settle down quietly to know that wisdom, skills, needed for our daily practices are there within reach but could only be harnessed by becoming conscious of the presence of abundance, and by giving thanks for what we already have.

In my sunday school days we used to sing a small song: "count your blessings and name them one by one, and it will surprise you what the Lord has done". When we learn to count our blessings we become aware of the great abundance for us to tap into. Be it health, wisdom, knowledge, love, marrital peace and harmony, success, its all abundance. Embrace abundance and share it around.


Remain Blessed.
Emmy Irobi
Poland

Friday, June 23, 2006

TogetherResolve

TogetherResolve

Opinion

Dr.Emmy Irobi

Mediating Divorce: A way to Family Peace And Better Relationships

The family is a major resource institution for a stable democracy and society. And the values that molds democratic leaders and makes life interesting are taught in the family . Hence the need for a strong and stable family in Poland that is capable of teaching our kids the christian and Catholic values the founding fathers of our great country left behind for us. When the ministry of Justice plans a new divorce and family law, skeptics should not be quick to criticise it, but should see it as an important step in the right direction.

The high rates of divorce, family decadence and conflicts should convince critics that some thing should be done to restore confidence and peace in the family before they disintegrate.

In response to the article recently published in this newspaper dated 16/6/06, titled “koniec z szybkimi rozwodami”, I agree that giving mediation a chance as a means to dispute resolution in the family is good, and critics should not use baseless arguement to try to stall it.

In an interview, Alvin Toffler stated, “The place we need really imaginative new ideas is in conflict theory...... the real weakness throughout the country is the lack of conflict resolution methods other than litigation”. The minister of Justice, himself a lawyer has seen the crisis of commercialisation of the legal practice fostered by competition and advertising, the growth of legal fees and a class of cases which are not supposed to be tried in courts, and the myth of finding truth and justice only in court rooms, a myth perpetuated by celebrated trials, even on TV, and decided to give married couples chances to find common ground to settle disputes by mediation.

It seems that some of the critics of mediation does not know the advantages of mediating divorse cases outside the courts. Research in the US and other European countries reveals that 50-80 per cent of all divorce cases referred to mediation ended in agreement. According to this research when you compare couples who have mediated their divorce with couples who go through the traditional courts, mediating couples are :

more likely to be satisfied with the process and the results

more likely to spend less time and money

less likely to go back to court to resolve any issues.

Mediation allows partners to get through the process with less conflicts than you will experience in courts. Because mediation is all about working with shared knowledge, determining what is best for your children. You can try out various parenting plans and see if they work out. Partners have free choice to modify plans as kids gets older without returning to courts.

The ministry of Justices new reform does not aim at denying citizens their legal rights, or taking away clients from lawyers, instead its aimed at ensuring stable family and reducing the attractiveness of divorce in our society. By this reform government is showing interest in the family which raises up kids that will be future and responsible leaders of this country.

If we want to have a healthy democracy our family values based on love for one another, tolerance, respect, fear of God, and hospitality, must be encouraged and promoted. This can only be achieved when married couples start to think less about litigations to resolve family disputes, and chose mediation as a means to restoration of relationships. Always with the help of a neutral mediator partners could design an acceptable and satisfactory agreement that will resolve issues of child custody and property which are always involved in most divorce cases.

I agree that mediation is new in Poland and we dont have many certified mediators in poland. This has led many to question its effectiveness in resolving family disputes. This is natural, and demands patience to see how it works out in future. According to Stewart Levine an American Lawyer and mediator, “major life changes are never easy, but doing legal battle over issues that are essentially emotional (like divorce) is like playing baseball on an ice hockey rink” for the balance of life. In this event couples will never be in good relationship, their children remain emotionally and psychologically injured, and the conflict only will worsen creating much pain, suffering and mis trust in the family. In our country we need more education and information for the public on the advantages of mediation as an alternative means of conflict resolution, not only at home but in schools, and work places. The bulk therefore falls on the shoulders of the polish Centrum for mediation (PCM) in Warsaw to assist the government or ministry of Justice to popularise the forthcoming reform plan to make it a success.

As faithful Catholics and believers, we should take to heart the words of our beloved late Pope about family values and relationships. He has always emphasised the need for a healthy family free of conflicts. Hence the need to support the new reform to mediate first before wasting time and money in court redress.

Dr. Emmy Irobi

Certified Mediator Consultant

Member Polish Centrum of mediators

Warsaw

Date; June 2006

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

TogetherResolve

TogetherResolve

I want to welcome all peace lovers to this blog site. Blessed are the peace makers for they shall enjoy peace. Please this site is meant for rubbing minds on how to resolve conflicts in our society. I therefore will like to welcome useful opinions about conflict and better ways to resolve it.

send in your comments, and lets resolve together.

Remain blessed