Peace is possible though we are surrounded by conflict. In the recent words of former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, “The world is a mess.” Messiness occurs when people are unable or unwilling to resolve differences without wars of words or weapons. This occurs not only globally but also on a personal scale. And for all the extraordinary human costs of violent conflict, the most deeply distressing is its impact on children.The end of a marriage has some similarities to the breaking up of a country based on sectarian differences. Is it possible to disconnect without civil war? Yes, but one must be mindful of the path one is choosing, and deliberately opt to not do battle. Though sometimes complicated, peaceful resolutions are possible if the focus remains the safety and well-being of children.
I do not believe conflict is inevitable, because for every cause of conflict there is an inverse possibility. In our day-to-day lives, we can choose a path of peace. We can elect to follow The Four Agreements as defined by Don Miguel Ruiz in his book by the same name, and use these principles to help us resolve our differences:
1. I will be impeccable with my word.
2. I will not personalize what the other person says, does, thinks or believes.
3. I will make no assumptions.
4. I will do my best every day with the energy I have been given.
In Collaborative Team Practice, parents who are getting unmarried can draw from sources of support for the emotional, financial, parenting and legal issues that are involved. Parents remain in charge of their own outcomes, but are given tools to keep the process as respectful as possible, thereby setting the stage for child-centered co-parenting in the future. And the world your children will inhabit is in the future. Let it be a peaceful one.