Thoughts on conflict.


Part of life, it’s how we handle them that separate the girls from the women, viz:

  1. Michael’s school band camp is this weekend, and he signed up a couple of weeks ago to attend this four-day music-fest with his buddies from high school.  Then he got accepted into the Hannaford Youth Band and they have a camp scheduled at the same time.  He was very conflicted about which one to attend, and spoke with this HS music teacher last week who said “I want you at the school camp.”.  So he declined the invite to the Hannaford camp.  On Monday, his school music teacher pulled him out a vocal music class and asked him how his first Hannaford rehearsal went, and how he had decided on which camp to attend.  The teacher then told him that he’d learn more at the Hannaford camp, and that while he wanted Michael at school camp, that he’d grow more with the university-aged kids and the higher level of performance.  

    Michael called the Hannaford leaders as soon as he got home from school and was slipped onto the roster at the last minute.  They’ll have lots of playing and a chance to improve on the Eb tuba.  He’ll also have a clinic with Glen Gould School tubist Sasha Johnson which should be terrific. Plus getting to know his new bandmates.  It means I’ll have to drive him up Friday evening and pick him up on Sunday, but I’ll also get a chance to hear them play Sunday afternoon which will be great.

    I am proud of the way he handled this conflict.  That he was loyal to his initial commitment, and able to make a good choice when released from it. 

  2. I wrote a letter resigning from a local choir.  I decided to be direct about my reasons because I really believe in the choir’s mission, was leaving with some regret, and thought that my comments might be helpful.  I received a long note from the director outlining his frustrations, mitigating circumstances, and historical issues.  I was unaware of all of these things.

    I have reflected at some length on whether I was correct in sending the original letter.  My concerns still stand.  I might have been more gracious.  I’m not sure, at this point, but I replied with my heartfelt thoughts on the matter, with encouragement, and best wishes. 

I grew up in a family that didn’t (doesn’t) do conflict.  I married into one that does it loud and proud (and usually well).  As I get older, I am more able to express strong opinions and speak from my heart.  I am firm with my children, a reasonably good negotiator with my spouse, and consider myself to be straightforward with my friends and peers.  I’m past the age of caring what others think of me.  I hope that I ask questions that others are too shy to ask. My older son has inherited my (former) reticence, and my younger son is more like his father in that regard.   I have learned that it’s important to be heard, but that grace and charity (in the Catholic sense) need to be present.


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