We often hear about supply and demand in a variety of different contexts. Lately there has been more and more talk in the mediation world about the need and demand for mediation — and how different they seem to be.
It’s easy to see that the need for mediation as an efficient and effective means to resolve conflicts is strong. Yet the demand continues to lag behind the need. Too often mediation is never considered or considered and then rejected. The result is conflict left to fester or explode.
Why does this gap remain? Lack of knowledge about the many arenas where mediation can be so helpful? Resistance to trying something new? Misunderstandings about exactly what mediation entails? A cultural tendency to avoid dealing with conflict until positions are so deeply hardened that communication has ground to a halt?
Probably the gap between need and demand for mediation reflects all of this factors, and others. Here’s hoping that as the year turns there will be more awareness of mediation, less resistance to trying it, better understanding of its benefits, and more willingness to grapple with conflict sooner rather than later.
And that more of the conflicts that are an inevitable part of life are resolved sooner and with better results.