Playing Telephone?

September 30, 2008

Imagine being in a room with a bunch of friends.  Now imagine you hear one of your friends sharing a grievance they have with you not to your face but to someone who then tells the person directly behind them the story.  This process goes through several people before getting to you.  What would you think?  I know one word would be sticking out in my mind: “gossip”.  However my thinking would not be common to man, it would be my cultural upbringing coming out.  The scenario I have just described is common to man.  That is, to specific men (and of course women) in Cote d’Ivoire, Africa.  

conversations_silhouettes_id228513_size450This case study on conflict was given to us today during one of our sessions and it got me thinking about the way I handle conflict.  In Cote d’Ivoire they live in small communities where everything is done out in the open, and their style of conflict resolution is reflective of that.  Their method isn’t divisive as I had originally thought.  In fact in being so open, so public, it gives the offender time to think about how they want to respond.  

This method of conflict resolution probably would sound crazy to most Americans, it did to me, until realizing how unhealthy my view of conflict is.  I flee conflict!  I would rather crawl under a rock that have an argument with someone.  Now it’s clear to see which method has the better potential to resolve smoothly.  

While I don’t have a full picture of how the Dutch handle conflict I realize I can count on it being different from my own practice.  Regardless of my uncertainty I know that conflict will arise sooner or later on the field and I will have to fight against my predisposition to avoid it.  This is an area in my life I know I need to grow in and the session today brought it back into the front of my mind for processing.



2 Responses to “Playing Telephone?”

  1. Mom Says:

    some great food for thought, Kate.

  2. Elise Says:

    Kate, I never knew you were such a good writer. You’re becoming a good blogger after all!

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