In the past few days Old Testament readings for the Daily Office (Morning & Evening Prayer – ask me about these things later, if you don’t know), King Saul and David (of the Goliath sling-shot story) are at odds. (1 Samuel 1, 18, 19) Basically, the old King Saul is becoming filled with what we might now call dementia. Saul’s retinue suggest that they bring in David to play the harp to soothe the king’s fits. It turns out that David is the spark to Saul’s dynamite. The king and he who will be king. Two leaders at odds. Conflict.
Conflict Resolution. Yeah, right. Me? I’m usually the one who creates the conflict. (Sue, be quiet!)
I get a call from Logistics (recall yesterday’s explanation of the collaboration of Chaplain with Logistics) Adult verbally abusing youth, not his own. Others fearing other types of aggressive behavior. It is late, I cannot go, but I can call and talk with the Camp Director and offer advice as to how to address the situation, at least for tonight. (The camp is in the far “North Country” and I can’t get there until the morning – a good hour and a half away).
Confirm the situation with others. Separate the involved parties. Assure the safety of those at risk. And with “back-up” (the Buddy System Works – a Scout mantra which mirrors the Gospel and early Church injunctions) confront the problem without direct personal accusation. Remind him of the Scout Law (“A Scout is trustworthy, helpful, friendly, kind, obedient, cheerful…) and his behavior is not Scout-appropriate. “And what if…?” “Well, if we need to raise it to a higher level, I’ll come out tomorrow morning. If we need to raise it even higher, we can or must take it from Saint to Angel to Archangel to God Almighty (meaning Philmont’s Director).”
How do you deal with conflict resolution – conflicts around you. We might discuss conflicts in which you are involved – started or recipient of – at another time. If only I could follow my own advice. (“Do as I preach, not as I do.”)
But before I sleep and when I wake, preparing to drive up the road, I pray for the names involved which I’ve been given. May the Spirit of the God of all mercy and grace and peace and brotherhood descend upon all involved in this conflict and in all conflicts.