When a group of adults and children decide to live together, work together in a collective, or share a common commitment to social change, there are bound to be some disagreements and hot conflicts. Each member has different values, experiences, needs and ideas about how things should be done. Conflict resolution skills are important for several reasons.
First, on the personal level, it is more enjoyable to live in a household where individual relationships are not constantly rocked by conflict. Skill in handling conflicts allows individuals and the group to be pushed to change while still providing a safe and stable environment in which to live. In a social change Community, conflicts within a household or collective can come to absorb vast amounts of time and energy that would otherwise be directed towards the political work at hand. If we develop our skills at handling such internal questions we will have more energy to be effective change agents. On the political level, conflict resolution is important because it:
- Demonstrates to others that conflicts can be resolved creatively and nonviolently.
- It shows that we can all learn and develop skills for handling conflicts.
- It allows an individual to handle conflicts creatively in their own personal life while continuing to work for basic social change.
- It provides us with the confidence we need to actively engage in conflicts with the world around us since conflict is a basic ingredient in any work for social change.
Sources: Building Social Change Communities
Contributors: Christopher Moore, The Training/Action Affinity Group of Movement for a New Society
Recommended Books: Building Social Change Communities
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