A Lesson From Adversity/Martin Rosenfeld

Posted on December 20, 2010


Atlantic magazine in an online piece chose the 100 most influential Americans. While the choices are subject to debate, the reasons for the selections always prove to be instructive. One of the surprise choices was General Robert E. Lee, who led the Southern forces in the Civil War. The reason for this choice? General Lee embodied the spirit of conciliation even in adversity and defeat.

Divorce is a time of adversity, no doubt. However, as President Lincoln said in a very different context, it calls upon us to summon our “better angels”. The spirit of conciliation in divorce requires dialogue and patience. It requires the ability to speak frankly, but also the ability to listen intently. In a word. conciliation, or forgiveness, or at least closure, will come about if the process of mediation is introduced. Mediation brings the parties to Win-Win. Litigation cannot do anything of the sort. Mediation is worth the effort. This is the best way to prepare for the balance of your life with equanimity and focus. Mediation works.