In Marshall Rosenberg’s book, Non-violent Communication, we learn about a powerful process for healthy communication to help resolve conflicts. We learn to express ourselves as well as listen without blame or criticism. We also see the value of “I” messages regarding what we observe and how we feel, tuning into needs, and clearly expressing what we want through non-demanding requests. It is a reciprocal respectful process, proven to be successful around the world with various conflicted groups, including different races, nationalities, religions, and on a smaller scale even individual families.
Conflict Management. Seeking ways of managing both internal and interpersonal conflict has been central to the field of psychology for well over a century. Acknowledging feelings, helping each side feel valued and heard, healthy communication of needs and desires, and fairness of both process and outcome seem to be essential ingredients. Win-win solutions are possible, barring interferences which hinder progress toward unity.
Reflect on: Matthew 5:9; James 3:17-18
Problem-Solving. The steps of identifying problems, brainstorming solutions, evaluating options, and testing a selected option are essential, with input from everyone at the table. Every institution should be involved in this type of process, perhaps an “action research” approach, where solutions are revisited and reevaluated to see if they are moving toward the stated goal. Applied to race relations, we can do better.
Reflect on: Proverbs 14:15; 21:5; Galatians 2:1-21
Teamwork. The science of teamwork has demonstrated many excellent principles for helping teams work more efficiently and in greater harmony. Emotional Intelligence research expands this literature even further, with healthy relationships growing out of a healthier individual sensitivity to your own and others emotional reactions. Similar goals and creating bonding experiences are important. How can we create such opportunities for interaction and bonding in healthy ways? It is doable.
Reflect on: Ephesians 4:11-16; I Corinthians 12:4-27