Deena: Heather, I'm really glad that Sage invited you to that meeting a few weeks ago.
Brian: Oh yeah! I was just thinking about when Heather first showed up. You weren't too thrilled about her taking Lori's place.
Deena: Brian, I admit I did have some problems with Heather at first, but things are just fine now.
Brian: What was your problem with Heather?
Deena: I think what bothered me the most was that Lori left out of nowhere. I was really upset by that and I took it out on Heather. I couldn't help thinking to myself that Heather was intruding on our group. I mean, what right did she have to take Lori's place?
Brian: So your problem was with someone who wasn't even there?
Deena: Exactly. So I acted really sarcastic to everything Heather said and I think I sort of avoided her.
Brian: And how did you feel about that, Heather?
Heather: Well, to tell you the truth, I didn't really want to come back to the group after that first meeting, but Sage explained the situation to me.
Deena: I'm glad you came back.
Brian: Oh, isn't that sweet? Now we're all one big, happy family.
Deena: Seriously, Brian. It's really important that the conflict between Heather and me was resolved. Actually, this story brings up a good point. We're going to be dealing with conflict for the rest of our lives, and it's important that we learn how how to deal with it.
Brian: I think I see what you are saying about the importance of learning to manage conflict.
Deena: Uh-huh. In a perfect world we'd never argue with anyone, but this is not a perfect world. We also have to recognize that everyone we meet is not going to be like us. Just look around any classroom. More than ever, there are students from different places with different beliefs and ways of looking at things.
Brian: So, with all these different people, we're more likely to get into some kinds of conflicts.
Deena: I don't think that you have to go global to find extreme diversity.
Brian: For sure.
Deena: This may come as no surprise to you, but being in a situation like this team could cause a conflict.
Brian: I guess the whole team thing can cause some problems.
Deena: Well, think about it. A family is a lot like a team, and what family doesn't have its share of conflicts?
Brian: True. It seems like the closer people work together, the easier it is for them to annoy each other.
Deena: I see conflict everyday when I go to my classes. In most of my courses, I'm the oldest one there. In one course, some of the students asked me why I was taking the course and others thought I was the TA. At first I didn't think too much about it, until I overheard one of them say it would be different having an older person taking the class. My first thought was to get really defensive. After all, I'm 32 and that is not old. Besides, the young girl who said that is always popping her gum, which is very distracting and really bugs me.
Brian: One thing is for sure; conflict is part of everyday life and it's not going to go away . I think we really need to be aware of it and sharpen our skills to manage it.
Deena: Yeah, just like in class. If we let conflict affect our group, then it could also affect others in the class. And the instructor may not even let students work together in future classes.
Brian: That could mean a lot more work for each individual, not to mention the learning experiences that would be lost.