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Lessons from a Frog about Resolving Conflict

While attending a book fair at my granddaughter’s elementary school, not only did I get to see my granddaughter’s second-grade classroom, but I was also able to visit the class where she attended first grade the previous year.

While I was visiting with my granddaughter’s first-grade teacher, I noticed a large poster on the wall with large letters entitled, Kelso the Frog – It’s Your Choice. Below the title, were the words, “Do you have a small problem? Try two of Kelso’s choices.”

The poster was apparently intended to give a young child nine choices when encountering a conflict with another child. I remarked to the teacher that perhaps adults could use this advice when they had a disagreement with someone.

As you read the nine choices listed below, you might want to give some thought about the two choices you could select regarding a conflict you are currently experiencing with someone.

  • Go to another game. There’s always another game you can play. Why are you insistent on playing the game you are playing?
  • Talk it out. Yeah, this takes a little courage. However, open and honest dialogue can often remedy a difficult situation.
  • Share and take turns. Perhaps you might consider this one the next time someone wants to squeeze in your traffic lane.
  • Ignore it. Like a smoldering ember, if you keep adding fuel to a conflict, eventually it grows into a raging fire. If you don’t pay attention to it, it will often lose energy and become nothing more than cold charcoal.
  • Walk away. Once you’re out-of-site, you’re also out-of-mind. It takes two to have a conflict. If you walk away, the other person can only look in the mirror and have a monologue.
  • Tell them to stop. This is called assertive behavior, not to be confused with aggressive behavior. For bad behavior to exist, good people do nothing. Respectfully ask the other person to stop doing what they are doing.
  • Apologize. This is the opposite of the victim mentality, which seeks to blame others for your mistakes. If you’re the one who is wrong, admit it right away and apologize for your behavior.
  • Make a deal. Perhaps you can negotiate a win-win solution. You may not both get everything you want, but you can both get something. If there is only one piece of pie remaining, perhaps one person can cut it, and the other person can select the first portion.
  • Wait and cool off. Count to ten or twenty. Walk outside for fifteen minutes. Continue the discussion twenty-four hours later. You’ll be surprised at the difference you can make in a conflict by waiting a few extra minutes or a day.

Perhaps these choices could be posted on your refrigerator or the wall in your organization’s meeting room. Above the options, you could write, “Pick Two.”

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