Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Conflict Mediation

A Few Things I Want to Remember About Today:

I was playing SET with some girls at camp (they caught on really quickly!) when I saw a boy from my group chasing another around the field. I could tell from his expression that he was seriously angry and not just joking around. I literally had to stand between them so they wouldn't hurt each other. I took them into the office and had them take a few deep breaths and cool off. Then I calmly asked what had happened:

Camper 1: "He was passing the soccer ball across the field, but it hit me by accident so I got really mad and started chasing him around the field."

I asked the other boy if this is what happened from his POV, and he said agreed with the explanation.

I proceeded to ask them about alternative methods of expression. How else can you express your anger? What other ways besides physically hurting each other?

I used long periods of silence (something that I'm learning to utilize by watching my excellent supervisor/mentor Melissa) to draw out answers.

Eventually Camper 1 came up with an answer: "I could say, 'Why did you do that?'"

"Good! That is a great way to express your feelings. Now, what would you say?"

Camper 2: "I was trying to pass the ball. It was an accident."

So it was as simple as that, they weren't mad at each other anymore, everything was fine. Now the whole situation would have been completely different if girls were involved...

Another moment:

After designing fliers to put up around town advertising our blog, we brainstormed local businesses to call and ask if we could put the fliers up in their window. We wrote a script and made a list of phone numbers and took turns calling. Allie, a very confident young woman, was doing a great job making the calls and got a few places to say yes.

Another one of my boys wanted a turn calling, so I did a few practices with him. He was just reading off the sheet, sounding a little mechanical, but I wanted him to try to boost his confidence, so we kept practicing, and I was ready to give him a turn. Something happened where I was needed elsewhere in the room, and when I turned around he was gone - someone said something mean about him, from what I heard.

I went outside to find him hunched over in a shady corner, crying a little. I told him that I thought he would do a great job and that he could try calling the next business when he was ready. He was still upset so I sat with him for a while.

Now I dont know the real reason behind his tears. Maybe it is about what someone said to him, maybe something weird is going on at home; I dont know. With these kids, I have to keep reminding myself that when they cry or misbehave, it stems from a number of reasons:home life, their friends, their influences... It is not because they are bad kids.

Eventually, he got up the courage to come back to the group and make a phone call. He asked if the manager was there and they said no. But he did it! Yay!

(I didn't use names in this entry because I thought that if I were in their shoes in either of the scenarios, I wouldn't want anyone putting my name with it.)

1 comment:

  1. Amber, you are doing such an inspiring job! Thank you for sharing it with us. You are having a real impact on your campers.