GOOD MORNING FROM LONDON
THE NEIGHBOURS DISPUTE
EPISODE 2 – MEET THE JACKSONS
In the first episode we were introduced to the Kendalls, a senior citizen couple, who are having difficulties with the new next-door neighbours the Jacksons a younger couple with two teenage children and a more modern approach to life
Today you meet the Jacksons. Both in their early 40’s, If the Kendalls were withdrawn and low key, the Jacksons are more direct. “In your face” in current parlance. It does not make them bad people – just different but differences can, if left unaddressed, so often become prejudices. It depends on circumstances, character and personality. You are our open-minded mediator and you watch, listen and observe. “Yes, we have two boys – one is a genius destined for Oxford and the younger one is a moron” A comment that jars with the mediator but her role is not to judge either party but to find a way to overcome issues but a picture of the Jackson family is emerging. Loud rather than quiet; straightforward rather than withdrawn; confident and assertive rather than bashful and retiring. Anything to work on? muses the Mediator.
You reflect on the differences – there is a life style clash and people, generally, are set their ways – the Kendalls especially because they are in their 80’s and less likely to engage in adjustment or adaptation. They rather like things as they are – always a Sunday roast, Desert Island Discs, even devotees of the Archers.
But your mind is working and you recall the passing reference to the Kendall’s grandson who often stays overnight with his grandparents. He comes with his sports kit and his satchel containing books for overnight homework. You probe and your first assumption that he stays overnight after a late soccer training session is wrong. So why does the grandson come to stay – to provide company for the aging grandparents? Or trouble back at his own home with his parents? You explore both possibilities gently and persistently but neither provide an answer. You have an instinct. There is something here – an issue which needs to be explored. And the key is the satchel, or more specifically, the books in the satchel. You press on.
It transpires that the Kendall’s grandson does have reading difficulties and in discussion – a few months previously – between the grandparents and the parents, a suggestion was made that Grandma Kendall’s teaching experience comes into play and that the grandson stays two nights a week during which time Grandma can structure a reading programme. So far so good. The boy is making progress and his previous reticence has given way to enthusiasm and smiles.
The Mediator begins to think.
EPISODE 3 – THE GERM OF AN IDEA