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<xTITLE>I am no good at making masks, so how can I pitch in during the pandemic?</xTITLE>

I am no good at making masks, so how can I pitch in during the pandemic?

by Michael Lang
August 2020 Michael Lang

My son Jacob, an artist, is a member of Idea Fab Labs-Santa Cruz, a “member-driven creation zone.” With a laser cutter he had used for art projects, he cut out material for 5000 face masks. And, he and other artists at the collaborative, are using 3-D printers to produce plastic face shields. This sort of altruistic response to the needs of first responders and health care workers has been repeated countless times throughout the country, and I am sure in other nations. Those who can, do.

But, I wondered, what could I contribute? Donating to food banks and other causes, certainly. Is there something more I could do, as part of the human community that might make a difference?

As I was considering these questions, Peter Nicholson proposed a book about managing differences in families who are under incredible stress as their lives have been turned upside down as a result of the coronavirus. And, in that instant, the desire to be helpful and the means to do so came together.

And, it turns out, I wasn’t the only family practitioner with a similar desire. Within 2 weeks, Peter and I had recruited more than 70 experts to contribute their advice and tips as part of a book, Living Together, Separating, Divorcing: Surviving During a Pandemic. In the end, to produce this book required the selfless efforts of over 80 people—authors, designers, editors, illustrators.

We directed our advice to three family situations:

  • living together, trying to manage parenting, working from home, home schooling and unsettled finances;
  • living together, and managing the same challenges, but one or both of the couple have decided to separate and end the relationship; and
  • separated or divorced and grappling with new methods for co-parenting and dealing with changes in their economic situation for one or both.

In the outstanding collection of essays, there are tips for managing disagreements, guidelines for handling children’s needs, information about finances, and even a recipe for Quarantine Cookies.

Everyone involved has participated generously, invested their time and creativity to produce a book that we all hope will make a difference.

As editor, along with my fellow contributors, owe a huge debt to the efforts of Peter Nicholson and employees at his company, OGX. As volunteers, they designed and produced the book, developed the companion website and created promotional material. 

Biography


After 40 years I ended active practice as a mediator.  Now, I am engaged in writing, editing and mentoring. 

My current project is Living Together, Separating, Divorcing: Surviving During a Pandemic, an ebook published on Amazon.  Along with my publishing partners, Peter Nicholson and Fiona McAuslan, and with the collaboration of nearly 80 professionals from 10 countries, we have produced a book of advice and tips for families stressed by the impact of the coronavirus.

Recently, I published The Guide to Reflective Practice in Conflict Resolution, the first publication in the Practitioners Guide Series, a joint venture of the Association for Conflict Resolution and Rowman & Littlefield, was published in 2019.  Susanne Terry and I are series co-editors.  In connection with the book, I lead monthly reflective practice groups via video conference, present webinars on reflective practice, and created a video series, In Their Voices. These extended conversations are broadly connected to the principles of reflective practice such as learning from experience, applying theory to practice, importance of research, value of mentoring.  Videos in this series may be viewed on my website: www.thereflectivepractitioner.com/videoconversations and on YouTube.

Peter, Fiona and I are also developing a series of books for people who are considering or in the process of separation and divorce.  That series, Divorce and Separation: A Practical Guide to Making Smart Decisions, supported by the exceptional work of local editors, now includes editions for 5 states, with versions for 10 more states in process—eventually we will get to every state in America.



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Additional articles by Michael Lang