Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Wednesday's Wisdom: When Negotiation is NOT Working

It is always a delight to be with Lyndsay and Tim Lambert. Their sense of humor and love for life will keep you smiling and laughing. It doesn't take long to see their passion for homeschooling. They are hardworkers who make a difference as they stand boldly for freedom. They are real heroes. (My daughter is asking what superhero powers they have! lol)

Our interview with Lyndsay was rich as she shared with us the ways to work through conflict. Kristen and I are sharing excerpts from her interview here on our blog. In parts one and two, Lyndsay explained the strategies to negotiating a win. But what if negotiation isn't working? Every homeschool group will have a season where they will face opponents bent on crushing the group's unity or morale. There just seems to be no way to win. Lyndsay tells us how to move forward to first and second and third until we have made it safely to home base.


HGL: What happens if a negotiation doesn't work? You are not able to come to an agreement or the other parties just do not want to work with you. What do you do then?

Lyndsay: One of the things you can do is agree to disagree. For example, you might agree to have a prom, and the people who don't want to have a prom just don't participate. Years ago, we had a situation. We were going to have a Valentine's party, and we had some people who didn't believe in doing Valentines. They left the whole support group. It's ok. We didn't understand why they just did not come to the Valentine's party, but they apparently had a strong conviction about it, and that was the way they dealt with it. That's fine.

However, if you have people who continue to stay in the support group, but disagree and cause problems, then you are going to have to walk through some peace keeping principles that are based on Scripture. Honestly, these principles work when you are a support group leader or a church member, and they apply when you are having problems with your husband or different relationships.

Basically, you have to view conflict as an opportunity to grow--an opportunity to please God, for us to grow, for the other person to grow and for things to get better. I think we have a tendency to want to avoid conflict. Instead, if we can use it to glorify God and approach it from the standpoint of "How can I please and honor the Lord in the situation," it will help us keep our perspective right through the rest of the process.

Next, you really have to prayerfully consider what is going on and think about what you are going to say and how you are going to say it. I have a tendency to think, "Ok, I'm going to let the Lord just deal with this and I'm going to go into it on the sly." But we need to prayerfully consider all of these questions:

  1. Have I caused any of this conflict? We need to look at ourselves and "get the log out of our own eyes."

  2. Have I had a critical or negative attitude toward this person? Or have I communicated that to that person? Examine your own heart.

  3. Have I had sinful words or actions? We have the tendency to look at a conflict and say, "He did this. I didn't react very well, but he was really at fault here. It was 95% him, but I was only 5% wrong. He started it, and I didn't respond well." When it's in your eye, it seems little to you. But it is big to the other guy.

  4. The first person who notices that there's a problem needs to deal with it. If you reacted wrong, that is the thing you need to deal with. If you reacted in a sinful way, you do need to go to that person and say, "Look, I'm sorry. I reacted wrong that day." You don't say, "Because you did this, I had a bad response." That is not going to go over very well or help much. I like what has--the Seven A's of Confession.

The next step is to think about gently restoring. You still have a problem maker, you still have a problem in your support group: somebody who is still causing problems, did not accept the negotiations and is not happy.

An effort at reconciliation is crucial. So, how do we gently restore??

. . . find out next week . . .

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