Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Conflict Resolution

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Conflict Resolution

Article excerpt

DELAYS, political posturing, walkouts, often swirl around attempts to negotiate conflicts. But negotiation is better than hot conflict. As the great Sir Winston Churchill said, "Talking jaw-jaw is better than war-war.

Patience, and the mental resilience to stand in the arena and to face what seems to be endless intransigence, are great attributes. Such ability usually comes through experience and maturity coupled with a large awareness of the ever-present possibility of accomplishing great things. At times, when I suspect my patience would have been strained to the breaking point in attempting to negotiate a resolution to a world crisis, a seasoned international figure finds an opening, a new position, a fresh idea ormethod that leads to the next plateau of agreement. Maybe it's a cease-fire saving hundreds of lives, a way to move food supplies through firing lines to save refugees, or just getting representatives from two countries, ethnic groups, or political parties to talk with each other about talking with each other.

Negotiations are not always so dramatic. Usually they're more prosaic, never reaching the nightly news: A driver yields to a car merging onto the highway. A person holds the post office door open for someone carrying a big package . . . and then lets him go ahead in line. A mother and daughter settle on a time the daughter has to be home from a party. But even "common courtesy and cooperation stand out in times when alienation and selfishness seem the accepted public and private norm.

The world is full of political, religious, geographical, and personal conflicts yet to be resolved. But world history records countless solved conflicts. Daily, people respond to a natural tendency to negotiate in good faith and eventually to find ways to get along. Why? Because of the presence of good.

The founder of this newspaper, and the Discoverer of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, has a lot to say about good. …

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