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A Lot Of Me On The Table

Dear Diary,

Today I left a lot of me on the table.

It was mother against daughter, sister against brother, two generations of family against a world that killed the son and brother they all loved.

They found money under his bed and they loved that just as much as they loved him. So they set upon each other. When I got home I showered early but the day remained on me, which is unusual – my flush mentality [1] failed me and I carried this one with me.

There was nothing in my mediation agreement with these folk that said I could inject my own brand of family values into their own brand of family breakdown – I did anyway and it ended up sounding like a sermon.

Too therapeutic maybe, but I’m a lawyer – I fake it with the best of them – except this time I really cared.

I saw a selfish, grasping matriarch’s inability to connect with her offspring so totally destroying the lives of her young grandchildren. I stepped in. Wouldn’t you?

But in what circumstances should we mediators fill a moral vacuum when it is vacated by parties who have the responsibility to plug it? When is it OK for us to set a course in a mediation to stop a wrong?

You tell me what you do when you see an absence of moral leadership at the table by using the ‘add a brief comment’ link below.


1 Put your right hand above and to the side of your head and pull down, you’ll get the idea. An essential micro skill that they don’t teach you in mediator school.


Geoff Sharp

Geoff Sharp is a Commercial Mediator from Wellington, New Zealand. Geoff works in the Asia Pacific region, including New Zealand, Malaysia, Thailand and Pacific Islands. He is a mediator resolving business problems. He is a fellow of the International Academy of Mediators and mediates complex and hotly debated litigation covering… MORE >

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