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Be Kind

Institute for the Study of Conflict Transformation by Dan Simon

I live in the US, in the state of Ohio.  We are known for LeBron James the Basketball star, the Wright Brothers being the first in flight, and Neil Armstrong the first person to walk on the moon. And soon we will be known for Dr. Amy Acton.  

Dr. Acton is the Director of the Ohio Department of Health and she has been leading our state through the Covid-19 response.  She is amazing in lots of ways, (see here for more about her,) but  i was struck by what she said in a press conference earlier this week.

During the daily press conference from the state, after she talked about cases and hospitalizations she switched gears and began talking about the need to be kind. She said  “I want to just talk about our self-awareness and a constant need for us to remember to be kind, and it’s hard.”   She acknowledged how she has been harsh with colleagues given the stress we are all under. She asked us all to remember everyone is going through a lot and that we have to be patient and forgiving with each other and ourselves because  “just like a virus is contagious, our moods are contagious, and they spread to everyone around us.”  

I couldn’t help but hear her words through my lens as a transformative practitioner.   I heard her asking us to see our own experiences of conflict, and to make a choice to be strong and compassionate.  These ideas of self-awareness, strength and compassion are the foundation of the transformative model and, though they often seem to be, they are really not so complicated or out of the ordinary.  

They are fundamental to us all and what we are called to be as people in community.  We can keep in mind that everyone is having a tough time and treat them with kindness. We can have compassion for ourselves as we flounder And we can tap into our own strength, especially with the support of others, to face what is ahead.    Let’s remember we have a choice of who to be in our most difficult moments. With self-awareness and community we can strive to be our best selves.  

Wishing everyone strength and community during this crisis.  


Janet Mueller

Janet Mueller’s career as a mediator began at the Dayton Mediation Center in 1995 when she joined the Center as an intern. She was hired in 1997 to manage the Police Mediation Project, which she continues to do today. As one of the lead trainers for the Center, she has… MORE >

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