Honoring Greatness with the Nurtured Heart Approach
Tammy Small, M.Ed. and certified Nurtured Heart Trainer
In 2005, the Conflict Mediator Program I coordinate and helped create, won a Golden Apple Award.  Today, I have moved the direction of my program toward Positive Interdependence- one where the trained students begin each mediation helping the students name their own great qualities, paraphrase what they hear - and later, after resolution - name the great qualities of their previous ‘nemesis’. The result is fewer mediations, more praise notes passed at recess, greater Peace.  Greater greatness revealed. Here, after a follow-up training, I share some of my students’ reflections.
The Power of One (in relationship to each other!)
I am sitting at my desk today reading the brilliance and honesty of children’s ideas. What an amazing gift it is to work alongside such insightful students each day! Last week, I had a Conflict Mediator Follow-up retreat with ALL my mediators (grades 5-8).  Of the currently 86 trained mediators, all but 4 showed up for some games, some reflection, some good discussion, some role-playing and reconnecting.  Many people wonder how I can coral 82 kids into focus, but that is exactly what happens (and you are always welcome to watch their genius at work!).  
The Reflection piece they wrote (and one which brings me to tears in their insight) called them to look at their own behavior in relationships – not just as mediators 15 minutes a day on the playground, but every day in relationship with peers and adults – friends and strangers. My questions were direct- and they were told that only I would read them – unless they chose to share.  Below are snippets of the amazing powerful vision these wise minds have – each one. Every one. The power of One.
What do you do to reach out to others? (“…encourage people to do their best…I try to see the best in them… I forgive people…I try and play with everyone… if someone has been mean to me, I give them another chance tomorrow…I listen when they tell me their problem.. I ask questions…I include people.. I tell jokes… I volunteer at a charity with my family…I try to understand them more..)
What might they have done that excluded or limited others – or themselves in relationship? ( …I gossiped about someone and let them make fun of my friends while I stood and listened… I have criticized some people and said mean things… I listened to people criticize someone and I didn’t step in… I have let my anger get in my way and talked behind people’s backs… I have ignored people even when I knew it hurt them… I have shared a secret… I laughed when my friend was making fun of another kid,,I have call people names…)
How can I intervene when I am not a mediator in a situation where I see people being cruel to one another? (..help them see each other’s side of the story…I can tell them to stop…stay neutral but offer comfort…I can solve problems even when I am not on campus…I can tell the person who is hurt that I saw what happened… I can ask them ‘what happened?” …I could ask them to say something nice about the other person…I can remind them to be Christ-like……I can let it be clear that being mean to others is NOT okay here…)
What could they do today to make real change? (…be the kind of person that people recognize as someone who can help…stand up for others EVERYTIME I see cruelty…I can help ONE person, and they can help another...encourage people to use mediators…try to be great at all times… show respect for every person and their ideas…not listen to people criticize others…pick a person who has been picked on and become their friend…pay attention in my class…pick up trash…remember to go to my mediation times… pledge not to slant the truth…I could say something nice to someone everyday...)
 These are ongoing powerful questions – ones not just reserved for trained mediators – but for all of us, Honest reflection – and real goal setting.  Whether your child is a mediator or not, I encourage you to challenge them these questions – and yourself. It is great foder for real Thanksgiving – and our power to make a real difference. Beginning with awareness.
Peer Mediation, The Wisdom of Children - and the Power of One to make a difference.
Thursday, October 28, 2010