After the events in Charlottesville last month, I sat down to think about the escalation of opposition – not just in Virginia but in life in general. The weekend after Charlottesville, for example, Major League Baseball umpires wore white bracelets to acknowledge the recent increase in arguments between players and coaches.
As an attorney, specifically a family law attorney, I see every hint of conflict on a regular basis. I wonder if we’ve always been surrounded by this much conflict, or has it escalated recently. I don’t know if there is a right answer but I would say the amount of contested issues has remained the same while the escalation of conflict has increased.
The question I have asked myself, especially since Charlottesville, is how can I not only control how I react to increasing tension but more importantly: How can I help my clients who are going through one of the most difficult times in their life? The short answer is I should not not judge. That, of course, leads to another question: How do you not judge?
That is a more difficult answer, and probably one that cannot fully be answered. However, when I look at my office, I have two pieces of artwork that I tend to look at the most (beyond the pictures of my beautiful wife and kids, of course). One says “Believe there is good in the world”; the other, “Your job is not to judge. Your job is to lift the fallen, to restore the broken, and to heal the hurt.” These remind me there is good in the world, and help me focus on helping my clients instead of judging their situations. This, in turn, helps me better explain to them their options and why, perhaps, one option may be better than another.
How do you help yourself and your clients through any conflict that may be present?