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May 1, 2017

A Top 20 Teacher Shares his Weekly Letter to Parents/Guardians! Entry #13

“Heart-to-heart is the best place to start.” Imagine that phrase as the inner voice of a 4th grader right before they react to someone in a moment of conflict.

Beautiful.

This week’s communication (sent home to the parents/guardians of Mr. Bowlin’s 4th graders) wraps up their month-long work on Conflict Resolution. Enjoy and learn!

Top 20: Forgiveness

To wrap up our month long unit on Conflict Resolution, we took some time this week to review effective strategies and methods for resolving conflict as well as the importance of forgiveness. Heart-to-heart is the best place to start is our new classroom slogan. It will help remind us of the importance of resolving conflict with a sense of empathy to reach a resolution that both sides will feel good about.

We came to the conclusion that conflict cannot be avoided, but if resolved properly it can be very beneficial. We introduced another classroom slogan this week, Don’t just go through it, grow through it,” to represent the idea that resolving conflict is not typically an enjoyable process but one in which many Star Qualities can be gained. Conflict resolution goes right along with the popular saying “Iron sharpens iron.” We develop character when we resolve conflict effectively and if both parties find ways to listen to the others’ needs, collaborate to discuss the best solution, and display a willingness to compromise can make us stronger. There is no question that resolving conflict is difficult. It isn’t easy to sacrifice your own desires for another person, but it is what we need to do if we want to build relationships that have trust and honesty.

One of the most challenging parts of conflict resolution is forgiveness and letting go. Forgiveness is hard. In order to effectively move forward in a relationship, we must be willing to let go of any anger or resentment. It takes a special quality in a person to live above grudges and bitterness. Conflict can hurt in the moment, but at some point it becomes our choice to move forward to allow ourselves to grow.

It takes a great deal of character to forgive. We looked at the quote, “Holding a grudge doesn’t make you strong; it makes you bitter. Forgiving doesn’t make you weak; it sets you free” and discussed the life of Nelson Mandela who was an excellent example of forgiveness. After 27 years in prison, most people would have expected Mandela to be angry but rather he forgave those who persecuted him. He joined forces with them in an attempt to build a free country. Asking for forgiveness is challenging in itself, but forgiving someone is even more challenging and requires a great deal of integrity and love.

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