2016 Book Selection: Forgiving Others, Forgiving Ourselves

Conflict Resolution Month in Colorado is excited that Forgiving Others, Forgiving Ourselves is the book selected for the 2016 campaign.  Authors Myra Warren Isenhart, PhD and Michael Spangle, PhD are from right here in our own state of Colorado and we are proud that they are doing such compelling work toward productive problem solving.  Check out the book description from Amazon.com below and order your copy today!

Forgiving Others“We have both witnessed the power of forgiveness as well as the devastating sense of loss that comes from withholding forgiveness. We invite you to journey with us as we explore all the dimensions of forgiveness, learning how to apply this gift to yourself and your life, as well as using it to guide others toward a happier, more peaceful existence.”
–from the Introduction

Everyone seeks forgiveness at some point in their lives―in families, from friends, in workplaces, in communities or from ourselves―but we often falter when we discover the practice takes more than simply saying or hearing “I forgive you.”

In this dynamic look at the process of forgiveness, conflict resolution experts Myra Warren Isenhart and Michael Spangle look at what is really keeping you from forgiving or seeking forgiveness. In addition to focusing on the soulful benefits of forgiveness, they also draw on insights from many fields―communication, psychology, counseling and theology, as well as their own original research―to explore the mental and emotional barriers in your path.

Learn how to:

  • Make distinctions between forgiveness, apology and reconciliation
  • Identify the conditions that make reconciliation appropriate or inappropriate
  • Understand the elements of an effective apology
  • Extend forgiveness to yourself
  • Assist others in their own forgiveness journey


Sticking Points: 2015 Book Selection!

This year’s Conflict Resolution Month in Colorado book selection is Sticking Points: How to Get 4 Generations Working Together in the 12 Places They Come Apart by Haydn Shaw.
Sticking Points image
 This book is a timely and relevant work because it addresses areas in which conflict between generations frequently occurs.  At this point in history there are four generations in the workforce, and this is a condition that is not expected to change soon because as the last Traditionalists retire, the as-yet-unnamed post-Millennial generation will begin its tenure in the workforce.  Although the book focuses on issues that arise in the workplace, it quickly becomes apparent that these sticking points also appear in a variety of settings including home, school, neighborhood, congregation, or civic group.
Haydn Shaw uses “ghost stories” of each generation – discussion of pivotal events that shaped each generation’s perspectives – to build a foundation of shared understanding that provides useful points for reflection and discussion.  Shaw also presents a five-step process for working through generational sticking points and developing solutions that are mutually acceptable across the different generations. Sticking Points provides better understanding of the reasons behind the generational divides and teaches ways to improve communication across generations and build stronger relationships anywhere the different generations interact.  Sticking Points is available at libraries, local bookstores, and on Amazon.com.  There is also a Kindle version available.

World Peace Game book is a conversation-starter at Mackintosh Academy

Mackintosh Academy Littleton participated in the Conflict Resolution Month’s celebrations with their community and staff in October – December community and staff conversations. Middle School staff (5th-8th) grade teachers either read or watched the documentaries on World Peace and Other 4th-Grade Achievements. We invited parents also to read or watch the documentaries. Discussions then ensued on how we could easily implement practices that John Hunter included in his classroom simulations on world peace. We particularly were interested in allowing for the space and time for students to be uncomfortable in the messiness of not having the answers and solving conflict without adult “helicopter” interactions. We also have decided to pair up with a fellow Colorado educator, Tari Ste. Marie from The Logan School, to share what she has learned from being able to attend multiple workshops led by John Hunter and how she has incorporated his practices within her 5th grade classrooms.

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.

Global Colorado at DIA

Global Colorado: We’re All Here is a photographic exhibit celebrating Colorado’s growing diversity and the accepting nature of its’ population.
The exhibit features 104 images representing over 30 nations with all the children under the age of 18 living in the State. A focus is on the shared developmental moments in their lives like, having a best friend, siblings and learning a skill.

The Milestones Project (www.milestonesproeject.com 720 299 3434) produced the exhibit which is on display along Concourse A after security and at the Y junction.

cityWILD Conflict Resolution

I am excited to share that I spent some of my 10 hours for Conflict Resolution Month creating a new conflict resolution curriculum component for our youth development program at cityWILD!

As part of our program students work on building their outdoor skills. To track the skills they have learned, we have a tiered system. Students can “level up” from basic to intermediate to advanced in a variety of outdoor skills. For example, if students are interested in rock climbing, they first earn a rock climbing “basic” that shows that they have the basic knowledge and skills to move on to intermediate climbing. They then earn their intermediate and ultimately their advanced, with the skill level and knowledge increasing at each level.

I duplicated that model this month and created a Conflict Resolution Basic and Intermediate that students can earn along with their outdoor skills. The basic checkoff card looks like this:

Conflict Resolution Basic

We’ll be adding a Conflict Resolution Advanced soon and hope to have all of our participating students earn their levels in Conflict Resolution this year!

Youth Transformation Center is celebrating it’s Ten Year Anniversary!

Here’s how:
1. We’ve cut the price of our RESTORATIVE JUSTICE training in half this school year for those schools throughout the greater Colorado Springs area who are ready to train 5 people for 5 hours for $99 each. We give away our 2 books, “Taking Restorative Justice to Schools: A Doorway to Discipline” and “Ten Surefire Ways to Transform Troubled Youth” to each participant (a $30 value)!
2. We’re working with 45 “high-risk” students (typically emerging dropouts and students with behavior issues) at Harrison SD-2 Career Readiness Academy. They are learning to resolve their own conflicts with RESTORATIVE JUSTICE in the Youth Transformation Center signature program called “Boomerang” (a metaphor for what you give out comes back to you)!
3. We are planning a huge rollout of the RJ 100 project where we will train 100 schools in the Pikes Peak region in the principles and practices of RESTORATIVE JUSTICE to create that cultural shift that we all are working toward. All educators and parents are welcome to attend.

For more information on our labor of love: www.YouthTransformationCenter.org

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!