Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Unsung Mediators of Nashville

I just returned from Nashville, Tennessee for the International Academy of Mediator's Conference. What a fabulous experience! We heard music everywhere with the most compelling, engaging lyrics anywhere. We saw amazing artwork in the botanical gardens by the Glass Artist, Chihuly and an Impressionist Exhibit at The Frist Museum. And we heard original music performed at The Bluebird Cafe, the Honky Tonks and by Alex Harvey, writer of "Delta Dawn" and Sammi Moore (beautiful young artist with a soul that belies her tender years). We heard from W. J. Michael Cody, the Attorney hired to represent Martin Luther King in Memphis the day before his assassination and heard his famous "I have a Dream" speech about growing up White and Southern and the beginnings of the civil rights movement there. He introduced us to one of our own members, George Brown, who was the First African-American in history to be appointed to the Tennessee Supreme Court and who partnered with Cody to bring pro bono legal services to the African-American community in Memphis as a young lawyer. From beginning to end, this was a conference, an experience, a memory to last a lifetime and I am so grateful and humbled to have participated.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Wedding Planning: The Ultimate Exercise in Mediation

After a 14 month engagement, our little girl got married last weekend to a wonderful young man. During that time, we both came to learn about ourselves and one another in ways that no other exercise in parenting has served to do. For instance, I learned that I am a natural-born skeptic. I need to interview several vendors before I decide that even the first one was the best. She, on the other hand, is self-reliant and determined. If she liked the photographer, she didn't need to interview any others. I second guessed every detail--wanting to make sure it was the best, most attractive, best deal. She knew the look she wanted for the wedding and went for it. About the only thing we didn't disagree about was the groom: he is great and both of us knew it. So I wanted to share a bit of triumph. It all went perfectly. And a survival story of overcoming an unnecessary, but long term underlying conflict in undertaking planning of a perfect day, together with my now adult daughter. After that, my "work" seems like, excuse the pun, a "cake walk".