In my early 20s, I wasn’t interested in school violence prevention. I had big ideas about contributing to world peace. After serving in the Peace Corps, I worked on a Master’s in international development, focused on conflict resolution. This was in the early 90s, before “Columbine” was associated with a high school massacre. An internship in the heart of America changed my worldview.
I’ve been a dispute resolution professional for nearly 25 years and, well, business is booming this year. Palpable tension is on the rise, within family gatherings, workplaces and communities. People are feeling burned-out by the polarization. Most of us are guilty of avoiding people who don't agree with us, just to minimize the stress and discomfort associated with conflict. How can we turn this around?