The following true story was shared by Monique, during the TRP training she attended a few weeks ago.
I have three teenage boys. They are good boys. All of them are unique and have completely different interests from one another. They typically get along very well. However, they had been bickering with each other for several days. About everything. It was not characteristic of them and I was not happy with it.
One afternoon I decided enough was enough. I called them together for a meeting. I had to holler to get their attention and I said “Young men, we are going to begin having peace talks.”
We sat down in the living room and I explained to them that today was the first day of our peace talks. I shared that the values of love and cooperation are guiding principles in our family and that given the current climate, talks were necessary to re-establish our focus on the principles. I moved so fast they didn’t have time to react. It was all they could do to swallow what I was feeding them. I said that I would lead the first session.
I began with a question. What does peace mean to you? Each boy had to answer. The others were not allowed to interrupt or to comment unless the comment was complementary to what his brother was sharing. There would be no picking, no arguing. Their answers were as diverse and as thoughtful as they are. I was amazed at how quickly the hour long peace talk went. I ended the session by explaining what was to follow. That for the subsequent three days, each of them would lead the talk for his day.
My youngest volunteered to go first. He is the artist of the family and for his talk he had pulled a TED Talk from the internet that he had us watch and discuss our ideas. It was delightful. I saw his enthusiasm and natural joy emerge as he led his family into a remarkably enlightening conversation. The older boys were no exception to the quality when they lead their talks. My oldest has us talk directly about how we treat each other and what is and is not, acceptable treatment for family. My middle son took us on a “nature walk” where we had to look and listen to the sight and sound of peace in the natural world.
I learned some valuable lessons from the peace talks. Warring siblings quickly created much more than just harmony when given the chance. They needed a way to express their creativity and their passions. With just a little input from their mom, their hearts and minds were wide open. I also learned more about their talents and their challenges. What they came up with told me more about them than I can typically see in our day to day interactions. Those observations helped uncover what each of my sons are good at and where each of him are vulnerable. I can use that insight as I coach them into being the mature young men they are becoming.
Could the peace talks apply in your home? In your office? Have fun!