Government Shutdown: What our Divorce Clients Can Teach our Government

Divorce Mediation - Government ShutdownIn the past few days I have been searching the internet and news programs for any sign of progress in this government shutdown mess.  As a professional who has dealt with divorcing couples for 18 years, I see many familiar patterns between the governing parties and divorcing parties.

Here are the common threads of negative thoughts:

  •  Their conversations mostly often involve demonizing the other party
  • Their primal instincts tell them that their “survival” depends on the other’s “downfall”
  • They each have their voter base, friends and family  reinforcing these combative notions
  • They feel justified in abandoning their own integrity to undermine the other
  • They state that their citizens and children are their most important concern but they act in a way that continues to bring irreversible harm to them.
  • Those that depend on them are powerless to stop their irreversible harm
  • Nobody wins and everybody looses

Here is what the government can learn from our wise divorce mediation clients: 

  •  There are no good and bad people; only (mostly) good people in bad situations
  • Mutual survival is best for everyone; especially true for dependent children and citizens
  • Those who are standing in your “corner” don’t have a view of the big picture
  • Holding your integrity and being respectful will bring about the best solutions now and in the long term
  • “Do no harm” is the only true way to honor our commitment to those who depend on us
  • Feeling real compassion for those who depend on us will lead us to act in their best interest
  • Everybody gains from cooperative solutions

Although I don’t expect Obama or Boehner to knock on my door any time soon, I do hope they find a way to wisdom.  Our divorce mediation clients have a lot to teach them about navigating conflict.

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