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15 Observations about Life and Conflict- A Reflection

binoculars-1269458_1920I am an observant person. I have been fascinated by people and how they interact with one another, how they behave when they are alone, and why they ultimately do the things they do. Over the course of my twenty-seven years of life, I have observed the people around me and learned from these observations some key understandings about life and conflict.

Here is what I have learned:

  1. You cannot control most of the things and people around you. The one element in any given situation you have complete control over is yourself, and that makes you incredibly powerful.
  2. Optimism is better than pessimism. It brings a better outcome.
  3. If you spend all your time looking and thinking about the past, you’ll never move forward.
  4. You are human and you will make mistakes. Acknowledge when you do, apologize, and try and do better next time.
  5. Most conflicts come down to miscommunication between two people.
  6. Taking a few deep breaths can change a lot: your mood, your perspective, your ability to talk with reason.
  7. Knowing when to remain silent and when to speak up is one of the most important skills you can learn.
  8. There is something below the surface that someone is battling or holding on to, not every conflict is about you or something you did. You could have just been the trigger.
  9. There is a bigger picture. A small justice or victory now could result in damaging the bigger picture. Always keep that in mind.
  10. Putting yourself in another person’s shoes can be a challenging task to achieve, however, doing it can completely change your point of view on the issue and the person.
  11. Taking time to think before responding can decrease the number of conflicts your words might cause later.
  12. When in doubt, genuinely apologize.
  13. Listening is far more important than speaking.
  14. You contribute to every conflict in some way – just like the tango conflict takes two.
  15. Many conflicts are not managed constructively, but when you see one that is, you’ll never look at conflict in the same way.

What have you observed about life and conflict in the world around you? I’d love to hear it!

 

Abigail R. C. McManus

Guest Blogger/ Host

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New School, New Beginnings – Helping Your Child Navigate Changing Schools

school-bus-600270_1280Moving for both adults and children can be a very exciting time, but it can also be very stressful for a child who is switching schools. Schools will be back in session soon, and students will be flooding the hallways, optimism floating in the air for the new year ahead. If you have recently moved, and you have a child switching schools, this time, can be both thrilling and anxiety ridden.

I had to switch schools twice when I was a kid when my family moved. The first time, I started third grade at a new elementary school. It wasn’t as big of a deal because the school was in the same county as my previous one and in third grade, I adjusted quickly – I say this only because I don’t recall any terrible moments about starting at a new school.  The second time was a very different experience; I started eighth grade at a new middle school in a new county.

My experience the second time was not nearly as smooth as the first. Middle school is an awkward phase for most kids, and I felt unnerved walking through the doors on my first day of eighth grade. I didn’t know anyone, and as I observed the students around me hugging their friends and catching up on their summer vacations, I felt an immense longing for my old friends. I also was behind on the curriculum; I remember the first day of math class, the teacher gave a refresher of what they had learned the previous year and my old school had only briefly touched on the subject. I vividly remember on my first day, I had gotten lost trying to find my class and was late getting to the welcome back assembly. Once I did get there, I had to walk in front of all my new classmates to find a seat on the bleachers; I was so embarrassed about getting lost and being late that once I sat, I just started to cry.

The good news is I survived – it was difficult, but I think moving helped me to become more confident in new situations. So parents what can you do to ensure this transition is a win/win for everyone? Using a list written by GreatSchools Staff, I pulled the tips I thought to be the most helpful.

  1. Take a Trial Run. When you’re in elementary, a lot of schools, have a meet the teacher day before school starting. However, once students get older many schools stop doing this; therefore, speak to the office and see if you can arrange a tour of the school and a meeting with your child’s teacher. By doing this, your child will get a feel for their surroundings and what to expect which can reduce the child’s anxiety.
  2. Encourage School Involvement“. I support this because it wasn’t something I did. When I switched schools the second time, I was deeply unhappy about the move and resentful of my parents. Therefore, I recoiled from student activities and limited my social interactions with my classmates at my new school. Instead, I spent just about every weekend at my best friend’s house where I use to live which restricted my ability to meet and make new friends.
  3. Keep a positive focus“. It is crucial that you have an open dialogue with your child about what they are thinking and feeling about starting at a new school. The more specific, the better, that way you can work with them to generate solutions to ensure they have a positive experience.

My last tip is one I thought of myself that I wish I had had the second time around.

  1. Get a buddy. Reach out to the new school and inquire about a buddy system or a particular student who could show your child the ropes on the first day. Walking into a new school was scary, and I think if I had had a someone to walk with me I wouldn’t have been as scared.

Have a good weekend,

Abigail R.C. McManus

Apprentice

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