You have the scenario from Episode 1 + Indignation is strong on both sides. As the parties walk into the room, their respective priorities are “my anger, my resentment, my list of complaints, my grievances”. Your task, as a mediator, (and not in 5 minutes) is to move the parties from confrontation to conciliation; sometimes by gentle persuasion + other times by straightforward speaking. But always in a pleasant way. By all means, ask awkward + sensitive questions – you have to – but do the asking in the right way. Do it the wrong way (with frustration, irritation or pique) + your career as a mediator is over.
At the start, the children feel cheated because the memory of their deceased mother, they believe, has been cast aside for the younger lady from Manila. Their hurt is underlined when the recently amended Will reduces their inheritance significantly. And they both have 3 children in private schools.
There is indignation on Therese’s side as well. The Father had been overlooked/disregarded. His health was deteriorating but the phone never rang. Therese bore the burden of the Father’s final days on her own, following his instructions not to contact his children that he believed had become selfish. But Therese also has two children in Manila.
People, generally, are subjective before they are objective. We live in selfish societies where the focus is more about “Me” than “We”. Attitudes harden as selfishness stiffens + you the Mediator have much resting on your shoulders. But, first, you have to listen to their respective litany of complaints – and without a trace of boredom. Listening is a skill – not to be underestimated. They want you to listen. You have to listen. Your talking comes later.
Tomorrow we explore the respective positions and unexpected issues arise on both sides.
Episode 3 July 1