How can a mediator be both impartial and fair?

April 5, 2008

I’m spending my Saturday night writing a short paper for my course in Ethical Dilemmas in Mediation. The paper is covering an article by Susan Nauss Exon called, “How Can a Mediator Be Both Impartial and Fair?:
Why Ethical Standards of Conduct Create Chaos for Mediators.”

She makes a great point: The Standards of Conduct meant for mediators are either too vague or too restricting, depending on how you view them. Impartiality and fairness could be mutually exclusive one way, or totally  harmonious another.

On top of that, they are both difficult goals to attain, however necessary they might be. So shouldn’t that be resolved if mediators are truly having so  much trouble with it? Well, are they?


A little insight for a long road ahead.

February 11, 2008

For the past few months I’ve been consumed by the idea that something bad is going to happen in my life. Disastrously bad. Things have just been too good for the last couple years.

And then it hit me yesterday: Maybe things have been so good because before they were good, they were really really bad. Maybe because I spent most of the beginning of this century involved in detrimental relationships, hazy thinking and constant running away, these years are absolutely heavenly when in reality they are just – normal. Blissfully, wonderfully normal.

It kicked off with the fact that I have actually applied my life lessons to my daily life. I’ve developed all kinds of techniques for dealing with emotional pain – no, not defense mechanisms, not anymore – and those mantras, exercises and thought processes have helped me to pave the way to developing some real life wisdom.

The question for me now is where to go from here.

I’ve been living with a false sense of reality when it comes to taking all this life experience and turning it into a career. I’m no certified psychologist, social worker or guidance counselor. In this day and age, wisdom is measured by university degrees, not life experience, and if that is the case, I’m just not going to ever measure up; I’m not interested in studying from text books what my own life has taught me.

So how am I ever going to make it in the field of helping people?

My husband puts it in perspective somewhat. He told me that there are all kinds of outlets for pursuing the business of helping people; certification is not the only way to succeed, especially if I’m uncomfortable with the idea of certification and therapy-as-business.

Do I go the route of my mother, who is an emotionally intelligent psychologist trapped in the body of an early intervention professional? The fact is, she probably gives more and better advice to the parents of these kids than any other therapy would… and she sincerely enjoys it.

Do I go the route of my husband, who is a contemplative behavioral scientist trapped in the body of a teacher? He relishes in passing on life wisdom to his students, who are at the age when they are more than happy to lap it up.

Maybe I’m supposed to be a personal assistant. Maybe I’m supposed to be writing novels. Maybe I’m supposed to be satisfied with being a good friend to those in conflict. Or maybe that’s a cop-out and I need to truck on until I’m a certified something with a proper title.

I’m not sure what will satisfy me… But I need to grow accustomed to the idea that just because my mediation degree is disappointing – just because I feel ill-prepared to pursue the mediation field in this country – I can still share my experience with the people around me, and of course, with myself.

The question is how to manifest all this, not if.

On careers and countries.

October 28, 2007


A theory is starting to hatch in the recesses of my fried brain. It goes like this:

Mediation is for outside of Israel. It’s just not as developed as I expected.

Hi-tech is for inside of Israel. It’s more developed than I could have thought.

Hmm. One of the thesis topics I had wanted to was combining hi-tech and mediation: I wanted to talk about the role of social networks in mediation for teens.

For now, back to work and back to class.

The dwelling vs. the command.

September 7, 2007

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the past. I have no idea why now, of all times; things are good, so it’s not nostalgic. It’s sort of a dwelling, like a cloudy mist that sometimes floats over my vision and takes me for short rides when I least expect or want it.

It’s very easy to dwell on the past. It’s too easy and it can be just as dangerous. I don’t think it automatically says that we are unhappy; it is just important that we are able to snap out of it on command. On our own command.

Too many people can’t do that – snap out of the dwelling on the past on their own command. It’s hard, yes, but only if you haven’t come to terms with the past or if you are comfortable wallowing in self-pity, superficial hate or exaggeration.

For me it’s the exaggeration and superficial hate that draws me in; it’s injustice left open like a blistering wound. But over years of experiencing the dwelling, the mist, I think I have a decent command nowadays. And I use it whenever I can.

Generation Cheap Communication.

June 14, 2007

There is such a thing as too much communication. Or maybe it’s better put as communication overdose, overload or, actually – miscommunication.

What I’m trying to say is, there is a point when communication is bad for communication.

My friends and I were brought up on instant messenger. It was useful for flirting, making plans, going over assignments. But then it got deeper. And then we got hooked.

We used abbreviations to ‘speak’ faster so that we could fit more into the conversation. We developed impatience.

We left away messages as answering machines and screened incoming conversations. We developed avoidance.

We went so far as to use emoticons and acronyms to express feelings, even deep ones. We became stoic.

And now? I’m sure I was already predestined to be a writer, not a speaker. Both nurture and nature probably took care of that. But I also think my peers and I learned quickly that we’re more comfortable typing than talking, and that we really don’t need to know how to talk correctly since we collectively signed online. It had leaked into our social skills.

The problem is the mixed messages, the unclear wording. The perceived attitude or the underestimation of a true feeling in an i.m.

I curse long distance relationships because I’ve only known them over the internet; I wonder if 30 years ago they would have stood a chance if all I had was stationary or a telephone.

Have our communication skills been bastardized? Is it too late, what with S.M.S the new instant messenger?

How do we un-cheapen communication?