Ever wonder what it is about the Everly Brothers or Simon & Garfunkle that we find so appealing? Oops, sorry. I may be showing my age. OK, how about The Avett Brothers? What is it about the way Scott and Seth sing together that we find compelling? It’s harmony.
Harmony, in the musical sense, is the combination of simultaneously sounded musical notes to produce chords and chord progressions having a pleasing effect. However, in a more general sense, harmony means agreement, accord, sympathy, peace.
Harmony in this latter sense is what we seek in Mediation. It is also what we seek in Parenting Coordination. The opposing parties in a mediation or the parents who need a Parenting Coordinator do not need to agree on every single point. They simply have to agree that an agreement is a better alternative than a fight. Returning to my musical metaphor, they do not have to sing the same notes. However, they do need to sing notes that are complimentary, in accord with each other, notes that can coexist peacefully. Parties seeking a collaborative resolution of a dispute must learn to harmonize.
So, what is the opposite of harmony? In music, it’s dissonance, which means a tension or clash resulting from the combination of disharmonious or unsuitable elements. Think fingernails on a chalkboard. Family conflict is the emotional equivalent of those fingernails scraping across the chalkboard. It causes tension. It sets people on edge. Given the choice, most people would choose harmony over tension. So why do so many domestic cases result in tension, stress, anger and venom?
Personally, I think one of the primary reasons is fear. People, all of us, are afraid of losing control. We are afraid of losing. We are afraid of being embarrassed. When we allow that fear to take over, we lash out. It’s a defense mechanism. The lashing out disturbs the harmony and becomes a sad and destructive pattern.
Now, a little bit of dissonance is fine. Think about the introduction to Purple Haze by Jimi Hendrix. A little bit of stress is o.k. too. A little stress can push us to excel. However, living in a constant state of stress will start to take its toll. Stress is bad for your health. It is especially bad for kids. If you are not willing to remove stress for your own well being, do it for your kids. At Irvine Law Firm, we are dedicated to helping our clients achieve harmony. If you want to explore alternatives to the scorched Earth approach to domestic litigation, give us a call or send us an email.