Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Final 3 steps of personal peacemaking

These came from Lynn Fitz-Hugh's article "21 steps on personal peacemaking" in the August 2008 Friends Journal.

Here are steps 19-21. Bold and quotes are from Lynn Fitz-Hugh.

19. We are responsible at all times for choosing behavior that meets our highest moral/ethical standards.

"to truly live by the Golden Rule, to live in such a way that, if anything true we did was published somewhere for all to see, we would have no embarrassment, guilt, or shame about our action."

Thank thee, Lynn Fitz-Hugh, for this simple and vital point. This speaks to me volumes. This is one of the best steps to teach to children too, as soon as they can comprehend the words, and to teach the gist of it before then.

20. Culture does impact conflict.

"Different cultures have different ways of showing respect, caring, boundaries, etc. The culture we are raised in is invisible to us--it's like air. ....We are all therefore somewhat blind to our own cultural assumptions and usually sadly ignorant of other peoples'. It is helpful to realize this potential and try to figure out if it is part of the conflict--and if so, to try to address it, and use it as an opportunity for learning. "

Fitz-Hugh also notes that second-generation Americans may seem fully assimilated but still have their culture invisibly wrapping around them. This can persist for multiple generations. And it's not a genetic thing, it's cultural.

In 1989 I lived in New Mexico and questioned a local about the pronounciation of Moriarty, a town east of Albuquerque. She pronouced it "mor-e-AR-i-ty. I asked if if wouldn't be "Mor-e-ARE-ty. Her answer, I will never forget: "Well, if you want to sound like a Yankee."

21. When we have made a mistake, it is best to apologize immediately.

amen amen amen amen amen

"..rather than trying to justify, rationalize, diminish, or cover up the mistake we made. We are not bad because we made a mistake. If we live without blaming, others should also be able to accept our mistakes without blaming. If someone else engages in blaming, that is the other person's issue and not something we have to take on ourselves."

I have the knack of this step well in hand and try to teach it to my kid. It is marvelous for defusing, deflating conflict. It's also honest. I usually say, sincerely, "oops, I goofed. I'm sorry."

Try it the very next time you make a mistake. If you are pulled over by a cop for some driving error, add the word "sir" or "ma'am" once or twice too. A friend of mine avers if you get in four "sirs" before he asks for your license, he'll let you off with a warning. And he has lots of experience to back this up.

So if you make a mistake, own it, apologize, and let the universe reach equilibrium again. And follow step 19 and live to your highest standards so your mistakes will be less frequent.

That's all 21 steps. Do you have faves? Steps you have mastered, steps that reflect where you need to work a little harder?

I'm going to walk cheerfully and answer God those I speak to. Have a great day.



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