2017 Book Selection: Difficult Conversations

Each year, Conflict Resolution Month in Colorado recommends a book for the community at large with the goals of spreading information and encouraging conversation on ways to manage conflicts at all levels of society. This year’s selection deals with difficult conversations, an aspect of conflict resolution that frequently occurs because these complex interactions take place not only in the workplace, schools, and congregations, but in our private lives from the supermarket to our homes. We are challenged everyday with navigating difficult conversations which influence how our relationships are strengthened or weakened, how we interact with the world, and how we understand our own communication abilities.

Difficult Conversations “explores what it is that makes conversations difficult, why we avoid them, and why we often handle them badly.” (p. 8). Often, we think of difficult conversations as asking your boss for a raise, telling your significant other you’re unhappy in the relationship, or telling your child that they are changing schools. Difficult conversations encompass many other interactions. These might include asking your coworker to refill the paper tray after it’s empty, telling your child they can’t play outside after dark, or explaining to your partner why you want to spend the night in.

Join us for a book discussion led by Diane Felt, a Conflict Resolution Month Synergizer. The book discussion will be held on October 17, 2017, 7:00 p.m. at The Conflict Center, 4140 Tejon St., Denver. Light refreshments will be served.


CARY LEHER is our 2014 Outstanding Advocate

How fortunate we are to have a Statewide Outreach Coordinator who represents our campaign beautifully and encourages participation across Colorado! At the meeting yesterday, Cary was presented with the 2014 Conflict Resolution Month in Colorado Outstanding Advocate Award. Each of us present had the opportunity to tell Cary, via Skype, which of her amazing attributes we most admired. The list was very long!

Congratulations to Cary and to Colorado for the benefits she generously and persistently bestows on our communities every summer!

Gratefully, the Synergizers

When You Least Expect It

I had the opportunity this fall to sit on a committee for the Colorado Bar Association at the behest of the Colorado Legislature to review the feasibility of the Uniform International Commercial Arbitration Act for adoption here. It was a great experience and I got to learn a lot about the area from a bunch of people who had very differing opinions about the feasibility of the idea. It was great fun.

As can be expected when dealing with a group of highly verbal and passionate people, the discussions were not always quiet. At our penultimate meeting, just a we were discussing what our recommendation would be, it became a little contentious and membership of the committee began to revert to their positions. At that time, my mediator-self spoke up and began to summarize the shared interests and goals of the group, after which we were able to reach consensus on the recommendation and even start to discuss the “what next.” I had to laugh because it was just such an automatic response to what was going on in the room on my part – I didn’t even think I was “mediating” until the committee chair pointed it out to me by saying “October is Conflict Resolution Month in Colorado.”

Now, I hadn’t said anything about it being Conflict Resolution Month in the meeting so I was a little startled when he said that. It turned out that, on his way home from the previous meeting, the chair had seen one of the window signs and even taken a picture of it to show me.

I guess the moral of this story is, even when and where you might least expect it, those signs really do have a positive effect!

Are We Getting to Yes? What’s New in Conflict Resolution in Our Community?

Two years ago, Summit County Commissioners proclaimed October to be Conflict Resolution Month in Colorado. Last Spring Colorado Mountain College in Breckenridge hosted the “Talking It Out Panels.” September 30, Conflict Resolvers living and practicing in Summit took the first step toward creating a coalition that would expand awareness of programs in the area. There are 24 members, representing attorneys who mediate in the 5th Judicial District, juvenile diversion and restorative justice professionals, The Keystone Center, Advocates for Victims of Domestic Violence, representatives from the Library System and the School District. Soon we hope to add representatives from the police and the faith community.
Many suggestions for activity came out of our first meeting. Some can be implemented immediately, such as distribution of conflict resolution materials through the library system. Others are in the planning stages, for example, this winter, a panel of conflict resolution specialists will offer “Are We Getting to Yes? What’s New in Conflict Resolution in Our Community?” at Colorado Mountain College. Some ideas, such as space on a community website, are also under consideration without a specific time line.
Whatever the season, I’m delighted to be able to have played a role in creating this coalition. None of this would have been possible without the advice and support of Mary Zinn, matched by the enthusiasm of local conflict specialists.

World Peace & Other Fourth Grade Achievements

What an exciting opportunity we all have to share our experiences around Conflict Resolution Month in Colorado!

My piece of the puzzle really began with reading John Hunter’s book, “World Peace & Other Fourth Grade Achievements” and taking to heart so many of the integral lessons John teaches us through his personal teaching experiences. I collaborated with his publishers to bring copies of his incredible book to Conflict Resolution Month for a discounted price. Now, with the help of an incredible team of Synergizers, we have been able to share a valuable learning tool with our vast Colorado community. I can’t emphasize enough what a joy it has been to coordinate such an important effort and see (and hear) others enjoy the insightful text, as well as apply its lessons to their own lives. As well, I interviewed the author himself– you can read the interview here: http://peculiarpragmatism.wordpress.com/2013/08/28/world-peace-no-problem-ask-a-4th-grader/

I highly encourage everyone to find their own way to take part in the collaborative effort that is Conflict Resolution Month in Colorado! I have had a great experience interning for Conflict Resolution Month in Colorado and gleaning valuable knowledge from working with fellow professionals in the field.

Please share your personal experiences and celebrate the great work we have all done in the community with promoting the peaceful resolution of conflict!

Spreading Like Peanut Butter

What energy there is in Colorado for the new Power of 10 Hours campaign. Everywhere I mention it, people react with enthusiasm and start thinking about what they will do with their hours.
Cary Leher and I had a great adventure going to Steamboat Springs and Ft. Collins to meet with conflict resolvers in those communities. I am so grateful to each person who joined the conversation to explore possibilities. Can’t wait to hear about plans for October.

Last weekend, the Association for Conflict Resolution’s Spirituality Section had a retreat at Shambhala Mountain Center. What a location! What a confluence of energy! Of course, they heard all about the Conflict Resolution Month in Colorado efforts. People from various states are interested in using our model and genuinely appreciate the template we have created.

So, my hours in July have been about spreading the word like peanut butter…. goes so smoothly. Yummy.

Power of 10 Hours

Welcome to our new Power of 10 Hours story page. In the coming weeks and months, this page will be filled with stories of how people, like you, are changing Colorado by investing 10 short hours to promote healthy conflict resolution skills. Check out our new Home page and the full Power of 10 Hour announcement. Are you wondering what to do with 10 hours? Be creative! Engage your friends and family in practical problem solving skills. Read “World Peace and Other 4th Grade Achievements. Contact your local and state representatives and ask them to support October is Conflict Resolution Month in Colorado. Many more ideas are listed on the Power of 10 Hour announcement page on this website.

Then, once you have exercised those powerful, Colorado changing 10 hours, let us know what you did, what happened, how it felt, and when you are going to do it again. Share your story with the rest of us and be part of the movement that is inspiring Coloradans to be the most civil state in the union.

We look forward to hearing from you.