2013-11-07 – Okay. I was bad in my last post on behavioral learning. In my defense, I was on a train when I wrote it. I don’t know what that means, but it’s all I got.
When I was writing about behavioral training, I had one specific kind of behavior in mind. And I barely mentioned it at all. What I wanted to write about is the need I perceive in this country for training in the area of conflict resolution. Look around you. We don’t do this very well.
Some folks shoot up a mall or a school if you look at them cross-eyed. Some folks shut down the government. And the folks who shut down the government are really in the profession of resolving conflicts. If they can’t do it, we have a problem.
And the problem is not just that we lack stronger gun control laws. And the problem is not just gerrymandering and other anti-democratic rules.
The bigger problem, to me, seems to be that folks really don’t know how to get along, don’t know how to resolved differences between each other. It’s just meet my demands or suffer retribution.
It’s the terrible twos. But for our nation it’s the terrible 200s.
That’s a problem. And my sense of the reason for the problem is that no one teaches kids to resolve problems by any tactic other than bullying. The media glorifies bullying and violence and no one really takes a contrary position. At least not in a systematic way.
That was the startling thing to me when I tried to get my sons’ elementary school to adopt a conflict resolution program. The need was evident every day in the school, in the classrooms, in the cafeteria, in the halls, on the playground. The response was that it was the parents’ job.
But the army doesn’t eschew behavioral training because it’s the parents’ job. Businesses don’t send employees home to mom and dad, but rather pay billions to train employees in skills of leadership, critical thinking, and conflict resolution. There’s a skills gap. But they’re not looking around for someone to blame. They just try to fill it.
What about the rest of our society. If we hope to get along together, shouldn’t we start learning to do just that?
The vision of peace spoken in Isaiah 2:4 says: “nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.”
We have an angry and violent nation because we “learn war.” If we want something better, shouldn’t we be learning peace?