This week has been a challenging one for our little homeschool cooperative. We experienced some group conflict as a result of diving forward into the new year without a clear set of guidelines for how we’d make group decisions or resolve disagreements. A seemingly simple decision over an upcoming festival turned into two meetings, then three, then phone calls and long conversations, some confusion and disagreement, and even a few hurt feelings.
It’s so natural for conflict to arise in groups, and particularly in a homeschool cooperative environment, where each of us is so fully invested in our children’s education; discussions naturally bring out big emotions. But we were unprepared for the conflict and are still working through it.
So, why am I bringing this up on the day after Thanksgiving? Well, as we are working through this conflict, it has made me feel so grateful that I am in a community that welcomes conflict as a way to meet people’s deep needs, process emotion in a healthy way, and ultimately, to bring us closer together. Many of the people in this community are highly trained in communication and conflict resolution, and I learn from their example each day.
Since it is such a big part of the homesteading and homeschooling community of which I’m a part, I thought I’d share some of the tools that are in active use in our community:
- Tools for understanding one another, like the Enneagram
- Tools for heart-opening, such as Naka-Ima or Solsara
- Tools for communication, such as Non-Violent Communication
- Tools for resolving conflict, such as Restorative Circles
These are just a few tools that exist for communication, and as a community, we’re still learning to use them skillfully. It can be easy to default to avoiding conflict because of the uncomfortable feelings that it might bring up. But as we work together to create interdependence, especially in such a rural area, where we truly rely on one another for many needs, it feels so important to dive into this work, no matter how scary or uncomfortable it may feel. (And believe me, sometimes it feels mighty scary!).
Today I want to share my gratitude for living among people who encourage me to face my own fears of conflict, and to grow as a communicator.
This post was shared at From the Farm Blog Hop