Wednesday, July 11, 2012
Old Dog Learning New Tricks
I know I said we wouldn't host an exchange student again any time soon, and I'm sticking with that. However, I agreed to be a liaison for one of the girls who is coming to live with another family in my area. They will be on vacation when she arrives, so she will stay with us for 10 days before they return. Two days after that I'll take my daughter to college. Now my dad wants to visit with some overlap of the Danish girl and him ... it's really not a great idea but how do I tell a 79 year old man who only comes to visit once a year that his timing really stinks?
(By the way, don't worry. He totally rejects computers so he'll never see this!). He will be 80 in August and he drives (yes in a small car) from El Paso, Texas to my house each August. Did you realize I live outside Washington, DC? Yes, he DRIVES the nearly 2000 miles! Then he "relaxes" here before he drives up to Massachusetts to visit his 96 year old mother, and then retraces the route. Not only does he reject the computer but airplanes, trains, and going over 55 mph. I apologize in advance if during your vacation this August you get stuck behind him for any length of time.
At any rate, we can't teach that old dog new tricks, but I'm learning some. As part of being certified as a liaison for the students, I've had to take some on-line training and it has been surprisingly good. Despite being an attorney, I'm not very good at managing conflict, so the lessons in that section were really good. One of the techniques they advocate is:
Invite -- invite the person to discuss the problem, assuring him or her that you will listen to their point of view
Listen -- listen to their point of view without comment
Share -- share how the situation makes you feel
Collaborate -- work together to find a solution
Now if I can only remember that the next time I'm irked with one of my family members.
How do you resolve conflict?