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An Angel At My Table

by Geoff Sharp
October 2008

From the blog mediator blah...blah...

Geoff Sharp

There's a post perfect for weekend musing over at Conflict Zen.

For me, Tammy Lenski's piece is about how everything - all the conflict we get in the middle of as mediators - is in the end about us; not us as mediators (it's never that) but us as individuals walking this planet, our kids, our communities, you know; US.

The post is about Carter and Begin at Camp David with Anwar Sadat in 1978 and about their own grandchildren and war. Those grandchildren will be parents themselves now I imagine.

Tammy says that "Years later, it was the memory of Carter’s story that prompted me to place the photo of a sweet little girl in the middle of the table while mediating a difficult child guardianship matter... It’s not about photos, of course. It’s about staring into the eyes of the future and reminding ourselves what really matters and what’s really on the table for resolution".

Which made me think again of the bitterly cold grey day this winter when I sat around a table with the remnants of a family of a troubled teenager who had been taken too soon and in tragic circumstances. Also at the table were the people and organisations the family blamed for not protecting their lost and loving youngster like they should have.

No winners here.

And to remind us of that and the point Tammy makes by her post, there was an angel at my table and his ashes sat with us throughout our day.

I went home and hugged my kids but they just got annoyed.


Geoff Sharp is a Commercial Mediator from Wellington, New Zealand. Geoff works in the Asia Pacific region, including New Zealand, Malaysia, Thailand and Pacific Islands. He is a mediator resolving business problems. He is a fellow of the International Academy of Mediators and mediates complex and hotly debated litigation covering a wide range of subject matter from insurance disputes to historic sexual abuse claims.

Geoff is author of the award winning blog mediator blah...blah... a mediation blog experiment in reflective practice and the Mediation vBlog Project, a kind of mediation genome project by video blog.

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Additional articles by Geoff Sharp