THE MEDIATOR THINKS CREATIVELY
The Mediator realises that there are two separate but linked ongoing disputes – Barratts v Canons and Villagers v Townies. Her appointment relates to the Neighbours and not the Village and she knows her responsibility is crystal clear – sort out the Barratts/Cannons issue and resist the temptation to get involved in the bigger dispute that threatens the long-term stability of the Village. She needs to take note of the bigger dispute because it provides the context that has given rise to strong neighbour tensions between the two families but her focus has to be on resolving their dispute. After all, they are paying her fees.
The Barretts are elderly + have lived in the Village for many years. They have friends; they enjoy the rhythms of village life and thy participate actively in the day-to-day life of the Village. They are set in their ways. Concessions will be difficult to come by. The focus, therefore, has to be on the Canons – they are younger, newer and with one appealing characteristic – they want Peace not War. They like the Village, its setting, its pace of life and, whilst they do know some of the newly arrived Townies, they have not participated in the growing Them + Us Divide.
You are pushing at an open door. You are fortunate. Your challenge is to find the right initiatives to suggest to the Canons to break the impasse with the Barratts. In mediation vocabulary you have moved from neighbour’s rights to neighbour’s interests.
You meet with the Canons + you start with the general before coming to the particular. You paint a picture of the Canons in the Village in 2027 – will it be peace or war? Will they be welcome at the Library, at the Church, in the local café or will they be greeted merely with a dismissive word and tolerated only at the margins. Do they want to become part of the Community or put their signatures to angry petitions?
FINAL EPISODE 6. 27 JUNE 2022