metaphors_2020

And A Little Child Shall Lead Them – Peacemakers 2020

Home » Peacemakers Medtaphors
Home » Peacemakers Medtaphors

On 12 August 2020, our Training and Development Advisor, Professor Joel Lee, published a blog post on the Kluwer Mediation Blog entitled “And A Little Child Shall Lead Them – Peacemakers Conference 2020”. His blog post is reproduced in full below.

For more pictures and videos of the Peacemakers Conference 2020, please visit the Peacemakers Instagram and Facebook Page.


I have in previous entries (July 2012 and July 2013) written about a peer mediation initiative called the Peacemakers Conference. The purpose of the Peacemakers Conference is to teach 13-16 year olds how to resolve conflicts amicably in a workshop cum competition format. This year’s Peacemakers Conference was held from 20 to 22 July 2020.

This year was unusual in that, because of COVID-19, the Peacemakers Conference was run entirely online. While this created its own stresses and uncertainties, it also gave us the opportunity to make the programme available to a much larger number of participants, 300 in total. It also allowed us to benefit from the coaching of mediators from the Singapore International Mediation Institute (SIMI), not just from Singapore, but from around the globe.

As in previous years, we asked students from different schools to work together to create a visual metaphor for mediation. This started in 2015 and has become a regular feature in the Peacemakers Conference. Metaphors from previous years be found in the entries for November 2015August 2016July 2017July 2018 and July 2019.

This year, the students came up with 16 visual metaphors which I would like to share with readers in this entry. For each of these, an image of the students presenting the metaphor is shared along with their description of the metaphor.

I would like to acknowledge the efforts of Mr. Samuel Teo, Mr. Sean Lim and the Peacemakers Facilitation team for capturing the the description and images of each of the metaphors that appear below.

Home » Peacemakers Medtaphors

1. Mediation is like an Egg Whisk

Mediation Metaphor 1: Mediation is like an egg whisk

Mediation is like an egg whisk!

The egg white and the egg yolk are two different things.

But when you whisk the egg, you are combining these two different things into one!

In the same way, each party has their own interests, so it is the job of the mediator to combine them and let the parties come up with a compromise.
The harder you whisk the egg, the silkier the egg becomes – synonymous to how the mediator should ask more open-ended questions to get to know the full story better, allowing for the parties to come up with a more effective solution. However, once you whisk the egg a tad bit too hard, you will make a mess. Continuing the metaphor, if the mediator does too much and comes up with their own solution for the parties, a mess could be made :O

That is why mediation is like an egg whisk.

Home » Peacemakers Medtaphors

2. Mediation is a Bridge

Mediation Metaphor 2: Mediation is connecting voices, bridging gaps

The process of mediation is like a bridge, it allow two people to connect together and work things out (just like how a bridge is built after 2 cities agree to build it and it connects between the 2 cities). After mediation, the gap that was formed during the conflict would be bridged and the conflict may be resolved.

Home » Peacemakers Medtaphors

3. Mediation is a Rubik’s Cube

Mediation Metaphor 3

Our group chose a rubik’s cube because we feel that a rubik’s cube requires us to consider the different sides to solve it. In the context of mediation, it represents the different perspectives we have to take into account of, when mediating a problem. There are stages to take when solving the cube which signifies the structured approach to resolve a conflict.

Furthermore, you may be overwhelmed with emotions — be it experiencing a range of feelings and thoughts. This is when we acknowledge our feelings! For instance, we feel frustrated since the rubik’s cube, or the problem, is difficult and hard to solve, stressed out when knowing that the methods do not work. Thus, we have to take a step back, take a break to calm down our emotions.

When you take a step back, you’ll be thinking out of the box like, what should I do to make it all red on one side? Or Is there another way that I can prevent myself from using the wrong method?

This helps us to think of multiple solutions to solve the cube, while providing us a sense of accomplishment as it challenges us. Ultimately, we’ll be happy and relieved when we know that the cube is solved, just like in mediation!

Home » Peacemakers Medtaphors

4. Mediation is like Magnets that repel but when in the right place attract

Mediation Metaphor 4: Magnets

When two different people with two opposing mindsets come together, they would repel like magnets facing the like poles. But when a mediator steps in, they start to come to an understanding and think alike, they turn around and attract.

Home » Peacemakers Medtaphors

5. Mediation is the Bridge over Troubled Waters

Mediation Metaphor 5: Bridge

We decided on the metaphor “Mediation is a bridge over troubled waters” because a mediator’s role is to connect both party’s views. This helps each party to step into the other’s shoes to see from their perspective, like people crossing a “bridge” to get to the other side, or a place where they are safe from the turbulent current that is their emotions (i.e: troubled waters). Once the parties reach the other side of the bridge (see from the other’s perspective) they can think rationally and make decisions without any prejudice as understanding each other without their conflicting emotions would make it easier for them to think clearly and come to an amiable conclusion.

Home » Peacemakers Medtaphors

6. Mediation is like Autumn

Mediation Metaphor 6: Autumn

It is the bridge between summer and winter, like how it is the connection between two opposing parties. Being the season of harvest, it also reaps bountiful produce, like the bountiful results of mediation, with a comfortable and peaceful atmosphere devoid of the droughts of impulse and the blizzard of violence. The mixing of different leaf colours, red, yellow, green, too symbolise the mix of various emotions that come up, and all equally fall down to the carpet of serene foliage below.

Home » Peacemakers Medtaphors

7. Mediation is like a pH scale

Mediation Metaphor 7: PH Scale

A Mediator is like a pH scale.

A Mediator is someone who aims to get both opposing parties together and help them understand each other better, resolving misunderstandings.
Likewise, the alkali must meet the acid in order to neutralise and become stable.

Home » Peacemakers Medtaphors

8. Mediation is like Penguins

Mediation Metaphor 8: Penguin

Story: One day, a new animal was to be created, in this new animal, both colours wanted to be different kinds of animals. On one hand, the black colour, remembers its time as a black betta fish. It thought, “How beautiful! I want to be a fish again and swim in the waters! On the other hand, the white colour remembered its time as a dove. It thought, “How graceful! I want to be a bird again and travel at high speeds!” However, the two colours could not decide on what type of animal they wanted to become, and so they fought and fought.
One day, a mediator came into the picture. The creator decided that the fighting was unhealthy and decided to end this conflict once and for all, so the creator invited the two colours to a mediation session to which they both agreed. During the mediation session, both colours shared their interests and positions, after the sharing, they better understood one another and came to a compromise. They decided to create a special animal, a beautiful bird which would swim gracefully at high speeds. Behold, the penguin was born!

Explanation: In mediation, there are two parties who come together with a mediator to allow the parties to resolve an argument and arrive at a solution. In the case of the penguin, the black and white colours represent the two parties, coming together into a singular body in agreement. The black colour wanted to be a fish and swim just like it had done when it created the betta fish. However, the white wanted to be a bird and travel quickly and gracefully like it had done as a dove. The polar opposite animals were too different, and they couldn’t come to an agreement. However, through mediation, they thought creatively and created a new and special animal – The penguin! As a penguin, black got to swim in the waters and white got to move quickly and gracefully, hence resolving the argument.

Home » Peacemakers Medtaphors

9. Mediation is like a Diamond

Mediation Metaphor 9: Diamond

In mediation, you need to reflect on the situation you are in which helps you to see and understand the problem better, and a diamond reflects light and shines even more brighter. Another reason can be that before it becomes a diamond, it is a lump of graphite, and it looks like nothing much and seems as if nothing can be done to make it look better, but when it undergoes a process then it becomes a shiny diamond. This can show that the problem you are facing may seem like it cannot be helped at first, but after talking it out then it can be mediated and everyone will be happy. A diamond also refracts light, so like when light enters the diamond it changes its angle and changes direction, so it’s like the diamond (mediator) is guiding the light (thoughts/conversation of the disputants)

Summary: A diamond is extremely precious yet fragile, a diamond has a lot of reflections that can represent different perspectives just like how a mediator sees different points of views.

Home » Peacemakers Medtaphors

10. Mediation is Key

Mediation Metaphor 10: Key

The key is mediation while the two chains connected are the two conflicting parties. The lock is the conflict. The aim of mediation is to facilitate a discussion and help both parties understand each other. Thus, unlocking “peace “ between both parties.

Home » Peacemakers Medtaphors

11. Mediation is like Polishing a Diamond

Mediation Metaphor 11: Polishing diamond

The diamond signifies the relationship between the two parties that have many problems. The unpolished diamond it was before signifies the misunderstandings and conflicts between the parties. These make the relationship sour and ugly. However, when polished or through mediation, the unpolished diamond or unhappy relationship becomes better. Even though mediation does not always solve the problems, the end product is always better than before the polishing process. Ultimately, mediation is a process. It may be a painful process, with having to open up about the ugly truths and be honest and slightly uncomfortable. But in the end, the outcome is satisfying and priceless. Moreover, the diamond is more reflective after the whole polishing process, signifying that the relationship is more open to new ideas and that there are fewer bumps (literally) in the relationship. Hence, mediation is like the process of polishing a diamond

Home » Peacemakers Medtaphors

12. Mediation is like Balancing a Beam

Mediation Metaphor 12: Balancing Beam

Striking a balance between all parties is a key facet of mediation. There are three main people in mediation, two parties, and one mediator. With each party standing on one side with varying (literal) positions and interests of different “weights”, it is inevitable that the beam balance teeters and tilts to one side – signifying an unstable relationship between the two. At this moment, the mediator has to be in the middle to remain impartial and neutral. If he ever moves to either side, the beam balance collapses. But with his prowess in mediation, he has the capability to draw both of the parties to the middle to reconcile their differences. With this, the beam balance achieves a balance and the conflict is resolved.

Home » Peacemakers Medtaphors

13. Mediation is Water

Mediation Metaphor 13: Water

Mediation is water. Water molecules are highly cohesive and it shows how mediation brings people together. Water is also pH 7, a neutral ph, so mediation is a neutral part that is unbiased, helping two parties resolve the conflict. Also, water is calming, which shows that mediation should be a calm and slow process. Water is also known to be a universal solvent in our bodies, showing how mediation’s aim is to dissolve any conflict. Water is also a cooling element that extinguished the fire between two conflicting sides. Mediation is water.

Home » Peacemakers Medtaphors

14. Mediation is a Lightbulb

Mediation Metaphor 14: Lightbulb

A light bulb, an essential part of our everyday lives, connects the circuit and allows the circuit to work. This is similar to how a mediator connects two or more parties, enabling the mediation to run smoothly. A light bulb can be used to guide us in the dark to allow us to arrive at our final destination with ease, which is similar to how a mediator guides the parties to reach a settlement which they can all agree on. A lightbulb also represents a “eureka!” moment, or realisation, just like how mediation helps parties understand each other and realise their similarities and differences, and help parties take a step closer to talking their problems out properly in future.

The four-step process of mediation is akin to how a circuit functions:

OPENING – Turning on the switch of the electrical circuit

INFORMATION GATHERING AND CHECKING – Electric current runs through the wires of the circuit

PROBLEM SOLVING – The light bulb is lit up, and we can use the light emitted to navigate our way through the dark

CLOSING – We have successfully found our way!

Home » Peacemakers Medtaphors

15. Mediation is the Rose from Beauty and the Beast

Mediation Metaphor 15: Rose

The rose has thorns, which symbolises the initial argument and the negative emotions between the two parties. The mediator has to treat the issue sensitively, so as to not induce hurt from the thorns. However, over the course of the mediation, the rose starts to become more beautiful, indicating the “bright” possible outcome of the issue. Just like how the rose brought together Beauty and the Beast, mediation brings together two parties through mutual understanding and building trust. There is also a common end goal to not let all the petals fall. Similarly, if the mediation is not done, the dispute will continue to increase in severity (i.e. the petals keep falling until the beast can no longer turn back into a human). Lastly, the rose is kept in a glass case, just like how whatever is said during the mediation session will stay confidential and within the group.

Home » Peacemakers Medtaphors

16. Mediation is like Boba

Mediation Metaphor 16: Boba

Just like boba in bubble tea, the mediator is an additional element during a discussion between parties and is not necessarily present for all conflicts. However, when conflicts occur, it is ultimately the presence of a mediator that grants peace to the discussion, allowing it to come to an amicable conclusion. Like how boba sweetens milk tea, a mediator sweetens a friendship and makes it pleasant for both parties.

Just like a boba in the sea of milk tea, a mediator may be surrounded or even flooded by all the tensions arising from the two parties, whether it be unpleasant emotions or incessant accusations. However, like boba, the mediator must remain strong and cannot crack under pressure, maintaining a game face throughout the discussion. Moreover, just as how boba has an inner view of the milk tea from within, (literally) beneath the surface, a mediator should seek to achieve a deeper understanding of both parties and the underlying Interests beneath their Positions.

While boba is a delicious bubble tea topping, it does not change the essence of the milk tea; likewise, a mediator should not change the essence of the parties’ words when reframing the situation, and neither should they be evaluative and add their own biases to the discussion. In addition to that, boba does not tend to one side of the cup. Instead, they are spread equally throughout the entire drink, giving the taster an equal chance to savour the boba. Likewise, a mediator should remain neutral throughout the discussion and not lean towards either party, being careful not to display any signs of bias in his/her body language or speech. Furthermore, a boba is always spherical and all-rounded, signifying neutrality. Likewise, a mediator should always be sure to put on an appearance of neutrality, regardless of his/ her personal inner judgements, if any.

Like the boba’s smooth texture, a mediator should always be SMOOTH in conversations, taking note of delivery such as pace and volume. Besides that, boba is very chewy and cannot be swallowed immediately. Likewise, it is impossible to reach a compromise right from the beginning, and everyone needs to take the time to digest one another’s’ perspectives in order to reach a satisfying conclusion.

Overall, just as how adding boba to your milk tea is supplementary, a mediator is an extra accessory when it comes to managing conflicts just like when you add boba to your milk tea. However, just like boba, a mediator makes conflicts easier to manage and a nicer process than if you were to just get the milk tea without boba. Without boba, one can still drink the bubble tea, but it might feel like something is missing. Likewise, without the presence of a mediator, two parties may still be able to resolve a conflict, but it may leave a bad aftertaste.

Home » Peacemakers Medtaphors


As Singapore’s leading peer mediation experts, Peacemakers has an extensive track record of managing and delivering conflict resolution training for youth at both local and international levels. If you would like to train your youth to better manage conflict, let us know how we can help via email at mediate@peacemakers.sg.

And a little child shall lead them 2019 - FB

And A Little Child Shall Lead Them – Peacemakers 2019

Home » Peacemakers Medtaphors
Home » Peacemakers Medtaphors

On 12 July 2019, our Training and Development Advisor, Professor Joel Lee, published a blog post on the Kluwer Mediation Blog entitled “And A Little Child Shall Lead Them – Peacemakers Conference 2019”. His blog post is reproduced in full below.


I have in previous entries (July 2012 and July 2013) written about a peer mediation initiative called the Peacemakers Conference. The purpose of the Peacemakers Conference is to teach 13-16 year olds how to resolve conflicts amicably in a workshop cum competition format. This year’s Peacemakers Conference was held from 17 to 19 July 2019.
 
As in previous years, we asked students from different schools to work together to create a visual metaphor for mediation. This started in 2015 and has become a regular feature in the Peacemakers Conference. Metaphors from previous years be found in the entries for November 2015August 2016July 2017 and July 2018.

This year, the students came up with 7 visual metaphors which I would like to share with readers in this entry. For each of these, images or videos of the metaphor are shared along with a description of the metaphor.

I would like to acknowledge the efforts of Mr. Sean Lim and the Peacemakers Facilitation team for capturing the the description and images of each of the metaphors that appear below.

Home » Peacemakers Medtaphors

1. Mediation is like a Wire

Mediation is like a wire; it connects the handphone to the portable charger. In the case of mediation, when the two parties come together, the mediation session helps them to connect with each other, so that they can find a solution that is agreeable to the both of them. It helps the two parties to work together and cooperatively to reach a certain desired outcome. Just like mediation, a wire connects two appliances together. In mediation, the parties bring two opposing points of view and what they want is very different. This is similar to a phone and portable charger. They are very different things and they serve different purposes. The wire helps them both to achieve their purposes.

Home » Peacemakers Medtaphors

2. Mediation is a Flying Cow

Is it a bird? Is it a plane?

NO, it’s a FLYING COW!

Indeed, mediation is a like a flying cow. You might be thinking, holy cow! What a strange metaphor. How is a flying cow related to mediation? Well, the two actually have more in common than you think, especially whenever two parties have beef with each other.

Firstly, a flying cow represents the 3 core pillars of mediation: neutrality, confidentiality, and party autonomy.

Neutrality: The cow is not biased towards any farmer, as long as it is well fed and taken care of, which represents how mediators are not biased towards any party and are an impartial third party. Their hooves are split into 2 equal parts, and their weight is distributed equally on both of these, which shows how the cow is even and fair.

Confidentiality: Have you ever heard a cow talk? Neither have we. This ensures the contents are always secret and private, maintaining confidentiality: everything that goes into the cow, will stay in the cow, just like what is said in the mediation will stay in the mediation.

Party Autonomy: With wings, the cow also has the freedom to fly wherever it wants and these allow it to choose and commit to a destination. Also, the wings can allow it to fly and look at the situation from different perspectives and find a solution. Similarly, parties voluntarily generate their solution which they have ownership of. This represents party autonomy!

Secondly, the cow also represents the mediation process itself as it has four stomachs. When the cow eats, it first chews the food just enough to swallow. The partly chewed food travels to the first two stomachs, where it is stored. These first two stomachs represent the first two steps in the mediation process, opening and information gathering+checking as all the food has not been digested yet, just like how the information still needs to be processed and reframed by a mediator (which are like enzymes in the stomach). Here, the information is still being broken down, and parties may face conflicts or misunderstandings, similar to how cows may face indigestion.

When the cow is full from this eating process, it rests. This is akin to how sometimes, parties may get physically or emotionally tired from the long processes and mediations and may need a break after passionately conveying their feelings. Later, the cow coughs up bits of unchewed food and chews them completely before swallowing again. The food then goes through the third and fourth stomachs, where it is fully digested. This is just like how all of the secrets, which are represented by the unchewed food of the cow, will need to be brought up and broken down further into their underlying problems and interests in order to continue on with a successful mediation. Since cows chew and digest their food very thoroughly, it represents the skill and depth with which a mediator must understand the issue at hand so as to guide the parties to a realistic solution. Finally after all the information has been uncovered and a solution has been found, the mediation can be closed, similar to the fully digested food in a cow’s fourth stomach.

As the food passes through the cow’s four stomachs, only the nutrients from food will be absorbed, while harmful and irrelevant substances will be excreted as… bullshit. This is parallel to mediation; what remains is only positive and valuable information, while the negative and irrelevant sentiments are discarded or reframed during the process, so both parties can mOOve on a happier note.

Lastly, cows are known for their milk. Milking a cow is hard work but no doubt worth it because the milk obtained is really precious. After thinking hard, the 2 parties will be satisfied with the milk of their labours and the mediator is rewarded with the satisfaction of mending a strained relationship. Cows may face stress if they are separated from their herd, or have a change in environment. This is similar to how mediation can sometimes be stressful, because of the high steaks situation, but these feelings get better eventually, just like a calm cow.

Home » Peacemakers Medtaphors

3. Mediation is a Life Form

It is the only reason why nature is alive. The reason why we have the environment around us. Why animals have emotions. Why animals live, grow and die. Life form is the only thing that divides the world of living and the dead.

The reason we chose the metaphor of the heart is because all living things have a heart, visible or not. Like a shell, the heart is not alive. The veins that represents life form. They are the reason why the heart is alive.

Just like the deoxygenated blood enters the heart through the veins, mediations first starts off as a conflict entering mediation. Just like how we need to get rid of the deoxygenated blood, we come in into a mediation with conflicts that we hope to resolve.

And the blood exits filled with oxygen – just like in a mediation, where the parties come out with a solution and certainly feeling better.

The heart is necessary to keep all creatures alive, just like mediation is important to sustain relationships and solve problems. The feelings we feel from our hearts are just like a mediation is filled with the emotions of parties.

Emotions may cause arguments, but it could also cause an argument to be resolved. Being alive. Being in this world. Allows you to think, sympathise and empathise with the other which are the reasons why arguments are resolved.

But being alive. But being in this world. You will have different perspectives which lead to arguments. Positivity and negativity do exist within us, and they are what makes us who we are.

This is why we chose life forms in a form of a heart. We chose 3 different hearts and as you swipe you can see how a negative situation can be turned into positive situation through mediation. As the colours slowly seep through the veins it shows the progression of how things surely will get better after a mediation.

Life forms. Being alive. We will be the reason why fights happen but mediation shows us how people can also resolve their fight together. Because mediation is bringing in dark problems but coming out with bright possibilities.

Home » Peacemakers Medtaphors

4. Mediation is a Microscope

Mediation is like a microscope 🔬.

The more 🔍zoom in🔎, the bigger the picture gets. The more you focus, you clearer you see 👀.

Whenever you use a microscope, the first thing you have to do is prepare your specimen. Similarly in mediation, you have to ensure that both parties are clear about the mediation session so that they can be prepared to cooperate.

Next, you have to examine your slide. When you look through the microscope, it is similar to how a mediator listens carefully to the parties’ opening statements and hears what they are saying, in order to see the big picture and understand the issues. The microscope also has different lenses to allow the viewer to see different things. The more you look, the clearer it is.

The mediator should also choose an objective lens, by being clear about what objectives the parties want to achieve after the session.

The microscope also requires a light in order to allow you to see clearly. Similarly, although parties may not always understand each other, the mediator sheds light on the issues to help them understand each other better.

In order for the light to reach the specimen, you also need a condenser, which is similar to the mediator’s function of summarizing. When you zoom in, sometimes what you see is not clear. In order to get the clear picture, you need to focus on asking open-ended questions, such as the 5W and 1H.

Finally, the last step is problem-solving. Once the mediator has identified the underlying problem, the mediator can help the parties problem-solve, giving them the autonomy to suggest solutions.

Home » Peacemakers Medtaphors

5. Mediation is a Lighthouse

Home » Peacemakers Medtaphors

When two ships 🚢 are lost at sea and are battling the rocky waves 🌊, lacking any light 💡 to guide them, they drift further and further away from their destination – the shore 🏝

Home » Peacemakers Medtaphors

This is similar to how without mediation, two opposing parties will be battling their unresolved issues (rocky waves 🌊) and will find it hard to resolve their problems, and will end up simply causing further misunderstandings and get worse. ☹️

Moreover, in the darkness 🌘, the ships may crash into each other and cause damage to each other, and themselves.

Home » Peacemakers Medtaphors

Similarly, without mediation, actions by both parties may result in hurt on both ends 😔, causing harm to their relationship 😰

Home » Peacemakers Medtaphors

Therefore, mediation is a lighthouse, because just as how a lighthouse guides ships 🚢 lost at sea who are at risk of being damaged due to the harsh waves and rocks, mediation helps two parties SEA clearly, water-ver the problem.

Home » Peacemakers Medtaphors

Mediation allows you to brave the harsh waves of conflict against all odds and eventually come to an agreement ❤️✨ just like a lighthouse shines light on the solution! (water!) 💦💦

Home » Peacemakers Medtaphors

6. Mediation is like Braces

Home » Peacemakers Medtaphors

The reason as we think mediation is just like braces is because braces bring teeth closer together, just like how mediation brings people closer together. The gaps between the teeth are just like the gaps between the relationship of the two parties, which is brought closer together by braces/mediation.

The pain that comes in the process of having braces is just like the pain of disputes between the parties. It might seem tough, but eventually, after the pain, the outcome is a beautifully straight row of teeth, just like how the relationship of the parties are made to be beautiful.

The retainers that come after braces ensure that the teeth don’t become crooked again, just like how the parties will keep to their solution and carry it out!

Home » Peacemakers Medtaphors

7. Mediation is like a Rainbow

Mediation is like a rainbow, which connects both the sun and the rain cloud. The sun and cloud are very different, they are basically nature’s polar opposites. On their own, they represent each extreme – the sun is very hot, while the cloud is very rainy.

But somehow, the rainbow manages to connect both and the two can form the fruitful conclusion of a pretty rainbow.

Neutrality. The sun does not care about what kind of clouds there are, big or small. Neither do the clouds care what kind of sunlight shines upon them. Either way, a rainbow will still be formed. When the sun and rainbow meet, it signifies that no matter the conflict is, it is possible for the mediator to step in and resolve the conflict.

Party autonomy. The rainbow forms only because the sun and the rain come together as one, and not due to any other reason. This signifies how both disputing parties have ownership of the situation and come together to solve the problem on their own.

Confidentiality. When a rainbow forms, it is actually because the light reflects off the water droplets in the air, but the process is not very obvious and cannot be seen. Therefore, this shows how the process of mediation will be kept confidential.
🌈🌈🌈🌈🌈🌈🌈🌈🌈🌈🌈🌈🌈

Home » Peacemakers Medtaphors

That brings us to the end of another installment of visual metaphors for mediation! I hope readers found some of these as inspiring as we did!

Home » Peacemakers Medtaphors


For more pictures and videos of the Peacemakers Conference 2019, please visit the Peacemakers Facebook Page.

As Singapore’s leading peer mediation experts, Peacemakers has an extensive track record of managing and delivering conflict resolution training for youth at both local and international levels. If you would like to train your youth to better manage conflict, let us know how we can help via email at mediate@peacemakers.sg.

and a little child shall lead them - FB

And a Little Child Shall Lead Them – Peacemakers 2018

On 12 July 2018, our Training and Development Advisor, Professor Joel Lee, published a blog post on the Kluwer Mediation Blog entitled “And A Little Child Shall Lead Them – Peacemakers Conference 2018”. His blog post is reproduced in full below.


I have in previous entries (July 2012 and July 2013) written about a peer mediation initiative called the Peacemakers Conference. The purpose of the Peacemakers Conference is to teach 13-16 year olds how to resolve conflicts amicably in a workshop cum competition format. This year’s Peacemakers Conference was held from 20 to 22 June 2018.

As in previous years, we asked students from different schools to work together to create a visual metaphor for mediation. This started in 2015 and has become a regular feature in the Peacemakers Conference. Metaphors from previous years be found in the entries for November 2015August 2016 and July 2017.

This year, the students came up with 8 (plus 1) visual metaphors which I would like to share with readers in this entry. For each of these, an image of the students presenting the metaphor is shared along with a description of the metaphor.

I would like to acknowledge the efforts of Ms. Charmaine Yap, Ms. Samantha Lek, Mr. Sean Lim and the Peacemakers Facilitation team for capturing the description and images of each of the metaphors that appear below.

MEDIATION METAPHORS

GROUP 1: Mediation is Magic

Mediation is Magic

Mediation is magic, and the Patronus deer that is summoned when Harry Potter casts the Expecto Patronum spell was chosen to represent the idea of magic. The spell is a charm that drives away life-sucking beasts, but is famously difficult to cast. This is like mediation – the difficult nature of practising mediation, mediating conflict, and solving conflicts and problems. When Harry Potter casts this spell, he has to recall a happy memory. However, he had to try this a lot of times, and only succeeded when he tried very hard. Similarly, if mediators do not mediate properly, the mediation will not work well, and might even make the situation worse.

Magic is also universal among everyone. From the old to the young, everyone appreciates magic. This is similar to peacemaking and mediation – everyone there is there to appreciate and understand it.

Mediation is also magical because by merely asking questions, people can be guided together. Just as there are endless types of spells, there are endless types of solutions in mediation. It is up to the mediator to ask parties questions to guide them along.

The Patronus is a beautiful animal. Harry Potter’s Patronus is a stag. Similar to mediation, it is the unpredictable and beautiful result of parties working on a framework to resolve the problem together.

GROUP 2: Mediation is the Lighthouse that guides relationSHIPS

Mediation is a Lighthouse

The lighthouse is a guide in the dark. The lighthouse symbolises the mediator, and the ships symbolise the parties. The lighthouse guides ships to land without piloting them. Similarly, the mediator guides parties to a solution without giving it to them. The darkness of the night sky symbolises how parties are unable to see each other’s perspectives, but the light from the lighthouse helps them to see each other and their common destination.

GROUP 3: Mediation is like a Camera Tripod

Mediation is like a Camera Tripod

The tripod’s three stands represent the mediator and two parties. All three support one another for the foundation of the picture, and have to support one another in order for the camera to work. They also maintain level ground for the camera. If any one of these elements are missing, the picture will not be beautiful.

The camera has to be on a level plane in order to work. This represents the mediator’s neutrality. The camera cannot stand without the mediator or one of the parties missing, and will fall. This shows how crucial each party is to the mediation.

The height of the tripod can be adjusted. This represents the flexibility of altering perspectives throughout the mediation session.

Just like how pictures in the camera can be deleted, conflict can be deleted at mediation. All the pictures taken are stored on the memory card, and are gone from the camera when the memory card is removed. This represents confidentiality at mediation.

Everyone can exercise their autonomy to participate by being in the picture. Similarly, anyone can participate in mediation and benefit from the process.

The camera’s zoom out feature allows the mediator to move away from the narrow tunnel vision and look at the big picture, while the focus feature allows parties to focus on what others are saying and listen attentively to one another.

GROUP 4: Mediation is a Missing Puzzle Piece

Skit:
– “I have a puzzle but the two pieces won’t fit.”
– “Should I cut it up?”
– “But the puzzle won’t look nice?”
– “I found another piece.”
– “Oh wow it fits perfectly!”

Mediation is a Missing Puzzle Piece

Mediation is like a missing puzzle piece that connects two parties together that are imperfect. Having to cut a puzzle piece in order for them to fit is like parties sacrificing part of their interests in order to come to a compromise. Like a missing puzzle piece, mediation allows parties to reach a mutually acceptable solution that doesn’t require either to give up what is important to them. A beautiful picture is formed by the pieces fitting together, the way a solution is reached when parties and the mediator come together.

GROUP 5: Mediation is a Pair of Swans

Mediation is a Pair of Swans

Mediation is a pair of swans, because swans are gentle and peaceful. When both swans are put together, the shape their necks make is a diamond. Just like how a diamond is hard to obtain, mediation is hard to master. Both also play important roles in society. A diamond can be used as a tool to shape or carve other things, while mediation is a tool we use to sort out problems.

The spectacles on the swans show that viewing things through different lenses can help make things clearer, and help you see things from different perspectives. The bridge in the background is to commemorate the previous year’s winning metaphor.

GROUP 6: Mediation is a Compass

Mediation is a Compass

A maze has multiple entry points, each leading to the centre via a unique route. Similarly, parties enter mediation with a unique perspective. What they see, experience, and the obstacles they face can be very different from one another. When they reach the end point, there is conflict. Parties think they know each other’s stories since they are in the same space. They assume that they had experienced the same thing since they are in the same maze, but what they had gone through may be different. This is a form of tunnel vision – assuming what they experienced is the same. When that is not the case, it leads to conflict.

A compass needs a needle, cardinal directions, and its casing to work. Likewise, mediation cannot proceed if either party or the mediator is absent.

Confidentiality: The fact that the compass is enclosed in an opaque maze represents confidentiality since no one outside the maze can get an idea of what is happening in the maze.

Neutrality: Only when the compass is on a flat surface will it work well. Similarly, neutrality must be maintained by the mediator for the most effective outcome.

Autonomy: Parties choose whether they want to hold the compass or to be guided by it. The compass helps parties see different sides and perspectives to the issues by allowing them to learn about the stories of different parties. This avoids tunnel vision.

This is where mediation comes in. Mediation helps parties see different perspectives to the complicated issue by learning about the other parties’ stories. Because parties have different orientations, turning in the same direction might not necessarily set the other party on the same route. However, a compass will set parties on the same route (by guiding them North, South, East, or West), towards a solution that they can all agree on together.

Mediation is a compass because it can help parties see the complete picture, set common ground, and guide them through conflict.

GROUP 7: Mediation is a Tightrope

Mediation is a Tight Rope

A tightrope is very thin, and you have to be very focused to not lose balance. Maintaining balance is like maintaining neutrality. If you don’t maintain neutrality, you will fall. Similarly, the mediation process will not proceed well if the mediator is not neutral.

Although the tightrope is very thin, it still connects two points together. Similarly, mediation brings two parties (represented by the mountains) together. We (the students) have written everyone’s names on the tightrope in order to convey that everyone has undertaken the challenge of mediating between two parties.

GROUP 8: Mediation is a Needle

Mediation is like a Needle

There are different kinds of needles.

Threading Needle

A threading needle patches up holes in fabric, and binds different pieces of fabric together to make something beautiful. Likewise, the mediator enables parties to reach resolution. Just like how the needle guides the thread, the mediator guides parties. However, the needle can also cause hurt – it can pierce you and cause you to harm yourself. Similarly, mediation can also cause harm if it is used wrongly.

Syringe Needle

Mediation can help people recover from emotional wounds. A syringe draws out blood, like how mediation draws out conflict. A syringe needle must also be precise – specific mediation techniques need to be applied depending on the context.

Acupuncture Needle

Acupuncture needles are pin needles – they need to be inserted precisely and accurately, otherwise the patient will be in a lot of discomfort. Similarly, if the mediator says something that makes parties uncomfortable, then parties will be in a situation of discomfort. However, if the acupuncture is done well, blood will flow well into the areas that are stressed, relieving the patient of pain. This is similar to the relief mediation provides if it is done well.

SPECIAL MENTION: Mediation is a Toilet

Mediation is like a Toilet

The three principles of mediation are: (i) autonomy, (ii) neutrality, and (iii) confidentiality.

  • Autonomy: Just like mediation, you can choose when, where, or how you use the toilet. You can use it in the day or night, and decide how long you want to use it for. You can even use what type of toilet you want to use – the squatting type, sitting type, or even a potty.
  • Neutrality: Long or short, big or small, the toilet will not judge.
  • Confidentiality: Whatever is made in the toilet, stays in the toilet. After the work is done and you use the flush, all evidence is destroyed.

The cubicle is like a mediation centre. You can go whenever you like, and leave only when you are satisfied.

The 4 stages of the mediation process is similar to going to the toilet.

  • Opening: You are apprehensive because you don’t know what you will find in a toilet. But when you are really urgent, you go in anyway.
  • Information Gathering: This is when you release the poop. Sometimes there is so much that you don’t know where to begin. But once you get comfortable, everything starts pouring out. Some get constipation, while others get diarrhoea. Everyone goes through pain, and it takes time and effort, but things will come through sooner or later. After that, you can step out and take a breath of fresh air.
  • Problem Solving: The flushing comes after you have been satisfied. It is only when you get everything out, that you are ready to start afresh.
  • Closing: Now you can step out of the smelly cubicle and start afresh, since you have gotten everything out of the way.

“Pissmakers – Helping you get your shit together”

That brings us to the end of another installment of visual metaphors for mediation! I hope readers found some of these as inspiring as we did!


For more pictures and videos of the Peacemakers Conference 2018, please visit the Peacemakers Facebook Page.

As Singapore’s leading peer mediation experts, Peacemakers has an extensive track record of managing and delivering conflict resolution training for youth at both local and international levels. If you would like to train your youth to better manage conflict, let us know how we can help via email at mediate@peacemakers.sg.

19417157_1199018296892142_9159305351232143657_o

And A Little Child Shall Lead Them – Peacemakers Conference 2017

On 12 July 2017, our Training and Development Advisor, Associate Professor Joel Lee, published a blog post on the Kluwer Mediation Blog entitled “And A Little Child Shall Lead Them – Peacemakers Conference 2017”. His blog post is reproduced in full below.


I have in previous entries (July 2012, July 2013, November 2015 and August 2016) written about a peer mediation initiative called the Peacemakers Conference. The purpose of the Peacemakers Conference is to teach 13-16 year olds how to resolve conflicts amicably in a workshop cum competition format. This year’s Peacemakers Conference was held from 19 to 21 June 2017.

As in previous years, we asked students from different schools to work together to create a visual metaphor for mediation. This started in 2015 and has become a regular feature in the Peacemakers Conference.

This year, the students came up with 8 visual metaphors which I would like to share with readers in this entry. For each of these, an image of the metaphor is shared along with a description of the metaphor. Readers can also watch these students present their metaphors at the Peacemakers Facebook page.

I would like to acknowledge the efforts of Ms. Jennifer LIM Wei Zhen for capturing the description of each of the metaphors that appear below.

1. Mediation is like a lighthouse

Mediation is like a lighthouse, that provides illumination in the dark night. It guides ships safely to shore by providing light that penetrates the dark. Similarly, mediation guides conflicting parties to an agreement. It provides the signal of hope to their final destination: the shore that promises safety.

Mediation guides parties in conflict to get over their sea of difference and anger, to reach the place of safety: the shore where family is: bringing conflicted parties home with the bright light of mediation – because they care and hope is rekindled.

2. Mediation is like solving a puzzle

Mediation is like solving a puzzle as to solve the conflict, you need a big picture, just like referring to the picture on the box of a puzzle to solve it. Mediators need to gather and piece the different puzzles to solve the problem. Mediators find the piece that fits into the puzzle, and satisfies both parties’ needs.

Although each puzzle piece is different, they are brought together in trying to solve the puzzle. This parallels how in mediation, parties have different mindsets, but the mediator brings them together to resolve the situation.

Every puzzle piece is important, just as how all 4 steps in the process of mediation are important: without each of them, the mediation would be a failure.

The process of solving a puzzle highlights the traits a mediator should have: patience and perseverance. Like solving a puzzle, mediation may take hours or days to finish. Mediation takes quite long as parties cannot easily understand each other or find it difficult to come to a common ground. If a mediator rushes to conclude a mediation, the outcome might not be what the parties actually want. It requires persevering through a lot of trial and error. If the mediator gives up, the parties have no one left to help them resolve their conflict: the mediator is like a light for the parties.

3. Mediation is medication for a war yet fought

Mediation is like medication as it mends the wound in the parties’ hearts, and allows them to better understand each other.

Medication:

  • The bottle of medication contains pills that are initially shaped as bullets. This parallels how initially, we only see the surface or the position of the parties. The words the parties say to each other in furthering their position may come out as sharp or hurtful – like bullets.
  • After mediation, the parties understand each other better, so the bullets become heart-shaped: meaning the conflict can be resolved amicably.

A War yet fought:

  • This is represented by the broken gun: which symbolizes attacks that are broken and conflicts that are being resolved.
  • This parallels how many problems can be solved with mediation before they escalate into a “war” (such as a court case).

4. Mediation is like raging towards the dying light while fixing a broken vase in a universe of hope

This metaphor can be broken down into 3 parts.

  • “Mediation is like raging towards the dying light”: this is depicted by the person in bed at the top of the picture. He is about to die, and is fighting against his own fate. Raging means to fight, and this quote means to fight against the dying light. Similarly, mediation is going against their internal conflict, going against the fate of the broken relationship, and hoping against hope, to get something out of it, to patch things up within themselves.
  • “While fixing a broken vase”: the vase represents the communication and understanding between the 2 parties. While mediation fixes the broken vase, the vase will never look the same. Nonetheless, something new is still rebuilt. Even if the relationship is not as perfect as before, mediation still helps the two parties understand each other.
  • “In a universe of hope”: the whole universe is something we have never seen before, but we know exists. Mediation helps people find that hope that people want, even if we can’t see it yet.

The process of mediation is as difficult as raging, but it allows understanding between parties by facilitating communication between them.

5. Mediation is like the Power of Attraction

The mediator is like a magnet, and the puzzle pieces are the elements of mediation. The mediator will ask the right questions to let the parties share their interests. The mediator will use their power to attract the right pieces for the parties to form a picture and common understanding of each other, to facilitate resolving the matter.

6. Mediation is like a Bridge

Mediation is like a bridge between two cliffs that are initially apart. Not being able to resolve a conflict hurts like a volcano and tsunami (depicted at the bottom of each cliff). This creates the sea of grief, emotions, and sorrow in between them.

Mediation lay and rebuilds a foundation between the parties with the strong sturdy bridge. It is not biased, but a platform to lead to each other, at their own pace to find their own hope and universe. It allows the parties to get out from the thunderstorm they are under and share the beautiful scene of the rainbow after the storm together, and create new beautiful memories. It’s no longer about victory or defeat, but creating a future together for both parties to enjoy.

Just as how mediation is a voluntary process, this bridge only works if both parties are willing to take a step forward, to take down their walls and build the bridge. Mediation is a bridge where parties stop talking about each other, but talk to each other. The parties are also contained in a bubble, in their own universe. This represents the confidentiality of mediation: no one knows about them – this bridge and universe is only for them, and significant to them only.

7. Mediation is like a Hammer

Like a hammer, mediation has the capacity to destroy or build structures (relationships). Nails can cause wounds, but they can also hold things in place. Thus, the nails are labelled “love”, “friendship”, “family”, “trust”. As the students wittily added: “Nails also mean if you did it [mediation] well, you NAILED it!” (sic).

8. Mediation Unlocks Hearts

Mediation unlocks hearts because when parties go through the mediation, they let down their ego and open up to each other. A hand is depicted as being wrapped around the padlock, as it is the mediator’s hand and touch that helps unlock the hearts. Although what is depicted is a single heart shape, this is because biologically speaking, the shape of a real human heart technically only comprises half a heart-shape. Thus, what is depicted is a single heart made of two human biological hearts: joined as one through mediation.

That brings us to the end of another installment of visual metaphors for mediation! I hope readers found some of these as inspiring as we did!

peacemakers_clear

Copyright 2020 © All Rights Reserved